John 3:16 is one of the most known Bible verses. But do you know to whom Jesus was preaching at that time? Do you know what happened to the listener later on?
Jesus was talking to a pharisee named Nicodemus who came to Jesus by night. Maybe it was easier to come in darkness. Other pharisees could not see him visiting Jesus. Or maybe it was the only time he could find Jesus alone. Anyhow, he came and had a powerful conversation with Jesus. Yet Nicodemus was bewildered. No matter how many examples Jesus gave to him, he did not quite grasp the matters of faith.
Jesus said, “You’re a respected teacher of Israel and you don’t know these basics? Listen carefully. I’m speaking sober truth to you. I speak only of what I know by experience; I give witness only to what I have seen with my own eyes. There is nothing secondhand here, no hearsay. Yet instead of facing the evidence and accepting it, you procrastinate with questions. If I tell you things that are plain as the hand before your face and you don’t believe me, what use is there in telling you of things you can’t see, the things of God? (John 3: 10-12, MSG)
Doesn’t it sound way too familiar? Instead of facing the evidence and accepting it, we procrastinate with questions. With doubts. With ignorance. With fear. Lord, have mercy! Don’t we grow in faith because of procrastination? What could happen if we truly believed?
“This is the crisis we’re in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness. They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God. Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won’t come near it, fearing a painful exposure. But anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes God-light so the work can be seen for the God-work it is.”
We do live in darkness. We do stick to old habits just because they are familiar. We hang around the same old, same old because we are afraid of the unknown. Just like Nicodemus we concentrate in avoiding being condemned, not being saved by the Light of the world.
Do we have hope? How about Nicodemus? Did he ever get the gospel? He sure did. But not immediately. But God does not give up on us.
After all this, Joseph of Arimathea (he was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, because he was intimidated by the Jews) petitioned Pilate to take the body of Jesus. Pilate gave permission. So Joseph came and took the body. Nicodemus, who had first come to Jesus at night, came now in broad daylight carrying a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. They took Jesus’ body and, following the Jewish burial custom, wrapped it in linen with the spices. There was a garden near the place he was crucified, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been placed. So, because it was Sabbath preparation for the Jews and the tomb was convenient, they placed Jesus in it. (John 19:38-42, MSG)
We do have hope. Because God sent his only son into the world. So NO one need to be destroyed. Because by believing in Jesus anyone can have life and more life. We just need to welcome the Light into our darkness. And when we keep letting God’s grace work in us, also we will soon dare to serve Jesus in broad daylight.
Shine on us!
Get rid of all darkness in us.
Work in us!
Pour out grace upon grace.
Make us bold!
Empower us for your service.
In Jesus’ name,
Q4U: How do you respond to John 3:16?
Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you live in the Light!