‘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.’
The Gospel of John, written in about 100 AD, is different from the other Gospels. Several themes characterize this Gospel, including light and darkness, life and death and flesh and spirit.
The study passage comes after Jesus’ encounter with Nicodemus, in which Jesus explained what it meant to be born from above and that Jesus’ work was about much more than outward signs. The passage is followed by an account of both Jesus and John the Baptizer performing baptisms in Judea.
John continues the theme of life and links it to light: those who are in the dark love evil, but those who are in the light are those whose deeds are done in God.
It is not clear whether this is a continuation of Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus, though it is most likely that it does. Following Jesus’ explanation of this new birth, Jesus explained the reason for his coming into the world, namely, not to condemn, but to save. And Jesus came for all people; it is an inclusive Gospel. But it is not forced on anyone. Those who believe will have eternal life. This does not refer only to life after death – a concept which is somewhat strange and mysterious – but to life in a new way. This can be explained with reference to John 10:10 where Jesus said that he came so they might have life and have it abundantly.
And Jesus links the concept of life with the symbol of light. Charles Wesley in the famous carol ‘Hark! The herald-angels sing’, writes: ‘Light and life to all he brings, risen with healing in his wings’.
Blessings as we look to the light and life of Jesus who is our Savior. Be safe! Be well! The Spirit has come!
- John 3:16 is a verse which many people know by heart. What does this verse mean for you?
- This verse speaks about God loving all people: how could you put this into practice, especially since the death of George Floyd has demonstrated that the world is still plagued by racism?