14 And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that 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. 18 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. 19 And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. 20 For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. 21 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.”
It appears that with the gentle winter season passing was are on the edge of an early summer. It seems spring has sprung for the dogwoods and daffodils. While our skin would appreciate the care year round, summer’s sunshine calls for extra attention and sunscreen.
How does it work? Sunscreen works by combining organic and inorganic active ingredients. Inorganic ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium oxide reflect or scatter ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Organic ingredients like octyl methoxycinnamate (OMC) or oxybenzone absorb UV radiation, dissipating it as heat. Some sunscreens protect us from the two types of damaging UV radiation: UV-A and UV-B. Both UV-A and UV-B cause sunburns and damaging effects such as skin cancer.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a spiritual cream we could buy at Stan’s that would protect us for all the things that sneak up and bite us. Balm of Sin-be-gone or Holy Salve of Jesus or maybe even Metho-Oxy-Gott’em. The truth is there is not balm of Gilead for sin-sick-souls.. at least not one to be found on a shelf when we need it.
Similarly, the middle of this text, the 3:16-17 part, while it is quite popular, it is not a prescription. Can anyone rattle off the 19-21 verses?
19 And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. 20 For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. 21 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 son has already shone and has casted the light of judgment on the world and the conclusion is that people love darkness more than the light.
Life taken for a new pair of Nike shoes.
A lie told to save face in front of the children.
The work of feeding, clothing and healing given to agencies, governments and institutions.
Dependent on wealth more than dependent on God’s call and charge.
Idols of status, Jealous and grumbling complaints
I once thought I wanted a sleeping chair on my back porch. But is was still rather hot, so I had to find a small fan. I added a nice pillow and pitcher of lemonade, I hoped for a small black and white TV to watch the Braves game, or at least a radio. But there were the bugs to contend with. So I got one of those blue glowing zapper lights to control the bugs. But it was not very restful, not very quiet, not what I had pictured. Then there were the other guests: Neighbors, children, wandering-walkers, who were also drawn to the light of the TV and the only way I found some peace was to turn off the TV, turn out the bug light, and go inside, where it was light, dry, cool and my home.
There are values and business models that drive us out into the darkness.
There are visions and dreams that are not grounded in faith in God and lead us away from home.
There are venues and places that promise happiness and peace, but are false substitutions for our heart shaped hole inside that God has carved out through Christ…
Yes, God so loved the world that he send Jesus, but look around we see plenty of folks who could care less.
Yes, we hear God wants us to believe, but can you actually trust God with your heart, home, money?
Yes, God wants to save the world through Christ, but who has time, we have other commitments first.
Yes, we know John’s chapter 3 verse 16-17
But we best pay attention and lead others to wake up to 18-21.
If you saw someone about to walk into the street would you stop them?
If the person beside you was reaching out and could not see the snake about to bite, what would you do?
If you saw someone hungry, tired, confused, lonely, greedy, naked, afraid, ashamed, guilty, broken…what then?
Am I a person of the light or the dark? I’m going to live like I mean it? Or just when I need the light?
Wendy at home and Sonya in the office always making sure I have light on where I’m working. I like the light behind me or close over me, but not in my face. I can’t see when the light blinds me.
Here is where I think most of us live… blinded by the light of Christ.
We know what God is offering, but we don’t like the blind-faith part.
Sure we will say yes, shine your light on me, but when it means following where God’s light leads, we put on shades or look away.
In John’s Gospel we have our invite back into the light..
“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.” Look at the things God is doing in you, and you will see God with you. If you can’t, look at your deeds carefully.