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15 March 2015

Read today’s Gospel Reading:  John 3. 11-21

Verse 16 of John Chapter 3 was described by Martin Luther as ‘the Gospel in miniature’.

It begins with the love of God for the whole world. Not just for a chosen few, but for everyone – and indeed not just for humans, but for the whole natural world, for the universe, which he has made. God looks on the world, and all its people, and loves. In Genesis, at the creation, we read that ‘God saw that it was good.’

And yet the love of God is not a static thing, it is not a matter of distant admiration, or merely an expression of pride in his creation. No, God loved the world ‘so that’ – his love moved him to action in and for the world. His action was to give his one and only begotten Son. Giving is a great way of communicating love. But the gift of God’s one and only begotten Son, to enter willingly a world which will reject Him, torture him, and crucify him, takes love to a new level altogether.

The reality is that without this love, and without this gift, the world is ‘perishing’. It is spiritually dead, it has nothing in it that endures, nothing eternal. Love alone, spelt out once and made visible once and for all in human form, in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus - that love is the key to eternity, and to reality itself.

For St John it is Jesus’ use of the symbolism of light and darkness which say it all. Now that the glorious light of God’s love has shone into the world, in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, why on earth would anyone prefer to walk in the dark?

Because of Jesus and his self–giving love, no-one need miss out on the life in all its fullness, the eternal life that is God’s gift in Christ to all his children. The daily news may be grim – and we may be going through tough times, but be sure of this - because of Jesus there is hope and a future for the world!

To receive this gift, all you need to do is to let your life be open to the Holy Spirit to come and make his home in you. A tiny seed of faith is all you need to get started – just enough to cry out, ‘God, hear my prayer’.  Or, even shorter – just, ‘Help!’   With a prayer like this, a whole new world opens up, and you can begin a new life, trusting God for ever.

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but have eternal life.’  John 3.16

Today’s Gospel Reading:  John 3. 11-21

‘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. If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever 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 may not perish but may have eternal life.

‘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. Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgement, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.’