Prepare to listen. Quietly pause and prepare to receive the Word. When ready, pray: Lead me in your truth, and teach me.
Prayerfully Read John 3:16-21
16‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. 17‘Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19And this is the judgement, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. 20For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. 21But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.’
Sometimes we’re so sure we know a passage and thus no longer see it. For many of us, this is the case with John 3, especially v16. We memorized and personalized it, substituting our name for world. We now skim over these verses, believing we know them well. Consequently, we often fail to register the warning ‘this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light’ (v19).
The judgment isn’t God pouring out all sorts of bad stuff on the world, not even a global pandemic. The judgment is that people prefer darkness to light, lies to truth. It’s a choice people make. We live in an era in which lies and conspiracy theories are increasing and believed by more and more people, including Christians. And when we don’t like the news (it doesn’t conform to what we want to hear) we protest, calling it ‘fake news!’
Hiding in darkness is popular because it means we can’t see what is real and what needs to change. We can continue to believe the lies and conspiracy theories and feel good about it. But that choice is the judgment from God on us, and keeps us in darkness. Only when we “do what is true” will we willingly come to the light and our deeds will clearly be seen as having been done in God. More than ever, we need people to seek truth and come to the light that they may be clearly seen.
Note how many times the word light is used in these verses. What do you now see?
Respond to Jesus
Lord, keep drawing me to what is true and light and may my deeds be clearly seen as deeds done in truth and light and in you. Amen.
Go live obediently in the world; walk in the light of the Lord.
Reflection on Scripture has been a constant in my life ever since I can remember. Reflecting on Jesus in the Gospels has become a necessity to get Jesus right. Join me in reading John to see Jesus more clearly this Lent.