Scripture: John 3:14-21
The Gospel of John is considered to be about the Cosmic Christ. Therefore, it is full of mystery and is very open to interpretation. This passage is one that is rather difficult to understand. It is also one that has been used to exclude people from God. In other words, it has been used to say who belongs and who does not.
On the surface, the meaning seems to be obvious, but you cannot take it at face value. It cannot stand alone and it must be mined for meaning.
I think that it is more of a description on the nature of God and what life is supposed to be like with God. By saying that whoever believes in Christ has eternal life is an open invitation to all people; that is, we all belong. Christ was not sent to condemn the world, but to be the love of God in the world. It is not enough to believe in Christ, but we must show it in action. What we do is far more important then what we believe.
This is what the passages referring to light and darkness try to express. If we live in the darkness, we cannot receive the life that God offers us; if we live in the light, we live the life that God gives us. However, that is not easy to do. Our world is both darkness and light. This is our everyday experience of it as we live our lives. It becomes how we see the world.
Perhaps the fundamental questions that this passage is asking are: Who are you when no one is watching? How is that working for you? For most of us, those can be questions with very disturbing answers.
The invitation is open to all. Only you can make the decision to accept it.
By Robert Benner
God love and light, no matter how much I study this ancient text, an element of mystery remains, ever drawing me toward the light. Thank you for inviting me on the journey. Give me the courage to accept the invitation. AMEN