Jesus said to Nicodemus: “Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”
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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed. But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.
God so loved the world… It has become almost a cliché that when one loves another, one does everything if only to please the beloved. I remember this poem from high school — “Ballad of a Mother’s Heart” by Jose la Villa Tierra — where an enamored boy promises to give his beloved whatever she wants. She asks for the heart of his mother, and without any hesitation, the boy runs home and rips away his mother’s heart from her chest to give it to his beloved. In the midst of heavy rain, he slips and falls to the ground and then hears a voice asking him, “Were you hurt, my child?” The boy realizes that it is his mother’s heart caring about him!
Some scholars say that Jn 3:16 is perhaps the most popular verse in the New Testament, if not in the whole Bible. And why not? For it summarizes who we are to God and how God sees and deals with us. God so loved the world—so loved us—he did not spare his own Son so that those who believe in him may not die but have eternal life. God did not spare his Son from the cross and death to show us to what extent God’s love goes for us.
But this extraordinary love of God has to be received by embracing his Son in faith. For the path of eternal life is through believing in his Son, Jesus Christ. Believing in Jesus also means escaping condemnation or judgment. God has not sent his Son into the world to condemn it, but that it might be saved through him. Unfortunately, many prefer to reject him, the light, and choose darkness, fearing that their evil deeds might be exposed. Indeed, evildoers hate the light, for to be in the light means to live in the truth, and evildoers prefer lies and falsehood.
God has created the human being imbued with freedom. One can choose to believe or not believe in God, in Jesus. One can decide to live in truth or in falsehood, to do good or to do evil. But why would one choose something that one knows would lead to destruction? The fact is, however, many people do take this path.
Let us pray, then, that we may realize the great love God has for us that he gave us his only Son so that we may not perish but may have eternal life.
SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2018,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: email@example.com; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.