Submitted by Visitor (not verified) on Tue, 13/03/2012 – 09:53
Year B (2011-2012)
Bible Book: John / Johannes
Text: John 6:16
This week’s lessons include the passage that some would say is the most important verse in the Bible–John 3:16: “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.” It is a verse that is often heard or read by itself and it has deep meaning for us as Christians—but we can gain additional meaning if we consider it within the context of the verses that come before and after it. In John 3:11-15, Jesus describes himself as having descended from heaven and then to be lifted up (on the cross) so that he might bring eternal life (salvation). In making his point, Jesus reminds them of a familiar story from the wilderness journey when Moses lifted up a bronze serpent to save the people (Numbers 21:4-9). His being lifted up will also save—but in a new way!
In John 3:16, we learn why Jesus descended from heaven: because God loves the world and, through him, offers us eternal life. However, we assume we know what is meant by the word “world.” We think it refers only to the created world and all who inhabit it. But, as the biblical scholar Gail O’Day has pointed out, the Greek word “kosmos” in John appears in references that include those who are against Jesus (1:10; 7:7; 15:18-19). Consequently, in John 3:16, we learn why Jesus came and to whom he came—all of us–both to those who believe in him and those who do not. God’s saving work in Jesus Christ is available to all. In the verses that follow verse 16, Jesus explains that because eternal life is available to us all, we have a choice to make. We can choose the light or we can remain in darkness (John 3:17-21).
Our lesson in John 3 ends here but another passage for today is John 6:4-15, the feeding of five thousand. It is an important text to consider with John 3. In John 3, we learn that Jesus came because of God’s love, a love that is available to all, and that there is a choice for us to make. After we make that choice, how do we live in the world as believers in Jesus Christ? John 6:4-15 is an answer. We live out our faith by caring for others, by meeting their needs, as happened with the feeding of the five thousand. In other words, we become ambassadors for Christ who love and serve others as he did. To God be the glory!
Question to think about: As a person who has chosen Christ, how do you show God’s love for all, those who are big or small, positive or negative?
Author: Anderson C (Prof)