“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” John 3:16
The first time I saw a man at a baseball game holding up a sign that said, John 3:16, sadly I did not know the reference. Who is John and what does 3:16 mean? Maybe John is a ballplayer and 3:16 is his batting average. It was many years later that I finally understood that John 3:16 was a Gospel verse and many years after that before I understood the significance of the message. For many of us who come to faith later in life this might sound familiar; we did not come to know Jesus even though His message is ever-present. And sometimes His message finds us in a peculiar place, and so it was for me, and so it was for Nicodemus.
This weekend we read a partial account of Jesus’s famous discourse with the Pharisee Nicodemus, a Jewish leader and member of the Sanhedrin. We read that Nicodemus comes to Jesus in the night, perhaps because he did not want to be seen by the people or other authorities. It seems that Nicodemus is open to Jesus’ message, at the very least he is curious and wants to know more. In this exchange with the Pharisee, Jesus delivers some profound theological realities including the need to be born again in order to enter in to the Kingdom of God which we now recognize as “Baptism.” But it is Jesus’ message about God’s love and mercy that transcends the centuries, and most present today; God so loved the world, humanity, you and me, that he gave his only begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but have eternal life.
It is this message of salvage that Christians far and wide hold dear, and it is the reason for our hope. Nicodemus although a Pharisee later becomes an open disciple of Jesus. We today who believe in Jesus, who have hope of salvation, should have a similar resolve for open discipleship. It is through God’s love and mercy, that through the cross we can live as a people of victory.
Diaconate Candidate 2024