Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Just a thought

We are working through John's gospel in the mornings at church this autumn. I like John, but then again I like all four gospels for different reasons. As I read through and prepare week by week, I see again some of the things that inspire and move me.

One of the things that usually catches my eye when I get to the story of Nicodemus is John 3:16-the most famous verse in the Bible. Or so we are often told.

Many evangelicals are proud of their ability to quote this verse as the heart of the gospel message. I'm sure someone will find their way into the crowd at the Commonwealth Games with it on a banner, unless they've been banned! But what of verse 17, why don't we make as big a fuss about that verse? I bet you probably need to grab a Bible to find out what it says. But for reading it recently, I'd probably have to do the same.

This is what it says:

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

It bothers me that we so often forget this verse. I think we should memorise it as eagerly as we do its more famous predecessor. Too often the church is quick to do the work of condemnation, too often we preach a message that runs counter to God's expressed intention not to condemn but to save.

John goes on to say that the person who does not believe condemns themselves, they don't need our help.

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