Meditation of the week

Living by the truth

John 3,14-21.

The story of Nicodemus occurs in John’s gospel immediately after the cleansing of the temple, and is closely linked to it. Both are replacement stories in which certain aspects of Jewish religious life are being replaced by/in Jesus. Nicodemus who came by night to see Jesus was not only a Pharisee and a leading Jew, a member of the Sanhedrin, (the highest governing authority of the Jewish people), but also a secret Christian with an inadequate faith in Jesus. He believed that Jesus was a teacher from God, based on the signs which he did.  In (Jn 3,1-13), the section preceding today’s gospel, Jesus speaks of the necessity of Baptism and the Holy Spirit for the true believer.

Today’s gospel speaks of the raising up of the Son of Man on the cross and in resurrection/ascension glory, which can only be appreciated through the eyes of faith. As the serpent, raised up by Moses, was a healing andlife-giving sign to the Israelites in the desert, who looked at it, so will the death, resurrection, and ascension of the Son of Man, the risen Christ, be salvation for those who believe in him.

Jn 3,16,   (God loved the worlds so much etc) is often seen on placards at international sports events, held up by indomitable believers who will have this good news broadcast, willy nilly.  It, is the good news of the gospel, in miniature, summarising the good news of salvation for each of us simply, eloquently, and memorably.

The measure of God’s love for the world, and everyone and everything in it, is expressed in the gift of his son, born like each of us, but destined to die for all of us. This is the first occurrence of the word love in John’s gospel; it becomes a recurring theme in the Last Supper discourse.   God, Who is love, sent His son, out of love, to live, die and rise for us, so that through our faith in him we may have eternal life. God sent his son to save and not to condemn us and the world. This is the good news of the gospel for all of us.

Those who refuse to believe in Jesus condemn themselves because they prefer the darkness of unbelief, and the evil deeds which accompany it, to the light of faith, and the good deeds, which come from living by the truth.

The cross and the crown of glory are inseparably linked in God’s plan, and often in our life, too.

Nicodemus coming to see Jesus by night, is symbolic of an unclear and inadequate faith searching for light that only Jesus himself, the light of the world, can give.  Jesus is always waiting for us, too, to come to him in our darkness. He wants to lighten our darkness and our burdens, if we but let him, especially, in Lent and Easter time.

Jesus came to save us and the world.  “Save us, Saviour of world.” What do you need to be saved from?   Jesus is always saving us. Reach out a saving hand to those you can help!

As Christians, God’s love for us and the world, shown by Jesus’ death and resurrection, should be the foundation of our faith, our Christian outreach to others, and our prayer life.

Do you feel loved by God?  How often, each day, do you thank God for loving you?

Father Geoff O’Grady