The Cosmic Love of God
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The prologue of John’s gospel begins with the story of creation, connecting the Word that became flesh in Jesus with the bringing forth of life and all things. Then, as the gospel continues, the testimony of John the Baptist is shared, which continues to point the reader to Jesus’ significance for the whole world, not only one group or people. John, upon seeing Jesus approach him in the wilderness, declares “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). The Gospel of John highlights the cosmic reach of Jesus and the purpose for which Jesus was sent. God loves the whole world, not just part of it. And God loves us, all of us. God’s purpose in sending Jesus is “that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:17).
Our world and our lives include darkness and sin, evil and brokenness. But God’s love for us and for the world is complete, passionate, and sacrificial. God is not willing to settle for part of the world, or for some of us. Instead of condemning all that is not pleasing, God gave God’s own son, lifted up on the cross, so that all might have the possibility of eternal life. The light of God’s love shining down from the cross demonstrates the totality of God’s love and proclaims God’s desire to transform the dark places in this world into places of light, healing, and salvation.
Gospel: John 3:14-21
To explain the salvation of God to the religious leader, Nicodemus, Jesus refers to the scripture passage quoted in today’s first reading. Just as those who looked upon the bronze serpent were healed, so people will be saved when they behold Christ lifted up on the cross.
[Jesus said:] 14“Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
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.
17“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. 18Those 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. 19And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. 20For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. 21But 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.”