John 3:1-17 (NRSV)
Chapter 3Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. Verse 2He came to Jesus by night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God." Verse 3Jesus answered him, "Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above." Verse 4Nicodemus said to him, "How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother's womb and be born?" Verse 5Jesus answered, "Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. Verse 6What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Verse 7Do not be astonished that I said to you, 'You must be born from above.' Verse 8The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit." Verse 9Nicodemus said to him, "How can these things be?" Verse 10Jesus answered him, "Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things? Verse 11"Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. Verse 12If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? Verse 13No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. Verse 14And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, Verse 15that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. Verse 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. Verse 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.
“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.” How many times do you think you’ve heard this verse from the Gospel of John in your lifetime?
How is it that we could question the truth of it? Sometimes it may be when a marriage is falling apart—or a loved one gets cancer—or the world is disrupted by a pandemic and millions of lives are lost—certainly it is then that we might question God’s love.
And this is when we need to hear these words again. For even if we don’t understand the reasons behind life’s tragedies and sufferings, we can hear the hope in God’s promise of John 3:16. That God’s love is so deep that no disease or hate or tragedy will make us perish, for God’s Son has given us eternal life through a cross.
God of Promise, through your son we have been given hope for all that life brings to us. When we feel lost and alone and begin to question you, remind us of the promise of John 3:16. Amen.