"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it. There is no judgment awaiting those who trust him . . ." (John 3:16-18).
I suppose that John 3:16 is one of the most quoted and best known of the scriptures. It is especially significant to me in that it was featured in a fairly recent dream of mine. You can read about the dream here. The verse was also included prominantly in the windows of a church that I visited in the previous month. As it would happen, I also recently purchased a new wallet that has John 3:16 printed on it. This morning my Gospel reading includes John 3:16 and so I think that this important verse is worthy of a closer look.
The context is a conversation between Jesus and a very religious Nicodemus. Nicodemus has some questions about the Kingdom of God and the answer that Jesus gives makes no sense to Nicodemus. John 3:16 is meant to clarify to Nicodemus God's purpose for humanity--not to destroy them--but to save them.
The facts are:
- God loves us enough to die for us!
- God does not want us to perish (literally to rot).
- God is interested in saving--not condemning.
- The key to salvation is believing (trusting) in Jesus.
Let's talk about believing/trusting for a moment. Trusting means letting go of the need to control. It is to believe that Jesus can and will save us and therefore to resist the urge to try to save ourselves. I have tried unsuccessfully to save myself my entire life. I have failed miserably in my attempts to protect myself from unseen dangers an known enemies. I really stink at being God. So, perhaps the point of this verse in my life today is that God is asking me to quit trying so hard to be whatever it is that I think that He wants me to be and to simply trust Him. I don't need to save myself--that job is already taken! I don't need to figure anything out--God already has a plan!
Yesterday I met with Martin Castro, Pastor Oscar de la Cruz, Ernest Maxey, and John Howeth. Today includes a haircut and then lunch with my good friend Gary Clyma. Tonight the boys and I will attend the WHS football team's season opener. This is the first day this week that is not slammed with meetings.
I have two goals today: #1--to follow Jesus, and #2--to show empathy.