Friday, March 21, 2014
welcome and challenge
Good morning friends,
I've often been troubled by this part of John's Gospel. The idea that those who don't believe in Jesus has always been hard for me to swallow. The more time I've spent with John, the more I love his message, because John's Gospel means most in longer sections than sound bites. It's easy to focus on words like "condemned," but the invitation is to look at the whole passage. Jesus was lifted up on the cross to welcome us to new life. God never forces us to turn to the light of love, but the invitation is open to everyone.
The second part of this passage leads into the passage of the woman at the well, which Neil will preach on this Sunday. Jesus saw his calling to the lost sheep of Israel, but in reality it went further than that. In Samaria Jesus has boundary breaking conversations starting with a woman he had never met. What boundaries is God calling you to cross? Who might God be nudging you to invite to a relationship with Jesus?
John 3:13-21, 4:1-8
13No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14And 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.”
Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard, “Jesus is making and baptizing more disciples than John” 2—although it was not Jesus himself but his disciples who baptized— 3he left Judea and started back to Galilee. 4But he had to go through Samaria. 5So he came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon. 7A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8(His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.)