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Thursday, March 08, 2018

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The gospel reading for this week can be divided into
two key parts, verses 14-16 and verses 17-21--the first
with its familiar "John 3:16" often overshadowing and
stealing our attention away from the equally important
second. Today, in part one, Jesus tells Nicodemus that
the surprising irony of the serpent lifted up in the
wilderness--that through an agent and sign of death
God's salvation is being worked--is a prelude to the
story of Jesus' journey to the cross. And then comes
this amazing answer to the perennial human question
"Why?"-- answered in John 3:16! Because God "so loved,"
that's why.
Furthermore, this way of the John 3:16 love, which
inspires faith in us, is no accident. "So must the Son
of Man be lifted up" (14). It is about a divine necessity.
Because of God's deep love it had to be this way. Two
times this love is repeated (15, 16)--so as to inspire that
faith and trust that has the power to snatch us out of
death into life.

God of love and mercy, may the power of your love for us in Christ Jesus inspire us to believe and trust that you desire nothing more than your children being rescued from death, and walking in the new life that is ours in Jesus our Risen Lord. Amen.

James L. Boyce, '72
Professor Emeritus of New Testament and Greek,
Luther Seminary

John 3:14-21 (NRSV)

14 And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
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.
18 Those 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.
19 And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.
20 For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed.
21 But 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."


This God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.