Submitted by Visitor (not verified) on Tue, 08/12/2009 – 14:24
Bible Book: John / Johannes
Verse: 1 – 17
Text: John 3:1-17
To me the climax of this well-known Scripture lies in God’s declaration of love in verse 16.
In Ephesians 3:18 Paul prays that all believers together may grasp “what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ”. In John 3:16 Jesus explains to Nicodemus the breadth and length and height and depth of the love of God. It is a love that is so “wide” that it includes the whole world, so “far” and “deep” that it reaches to the godforsaken death on the cross, so “high” that it offers nothing but eternal life.
When Jesus explains this act of love of God, He does it by referring to the story of the Israelites who were attacked by snakes in the desert. The story of Numbers 21:4-9 tells of God’s compassion for Israel. These fickle people, for whom the journey through the desert had become too much to bear, spoke out against Moses (and by implication against God too) saying that he, Moses (and God), didn’t care about them. When God sent the snakes (Num 21:6) and the Israelites started begging for mercy, God gave them a sign of his grace. There in the desert, with many of them dying, Moses planted a pole with a bronze snake on it. This pole said: God means well with his people.
In the midst of the AIDS pandemic, Jesus’ words to Nicodemus confront us like a pole on a desert dune: Jesus’ death on the cross means that God has compassion for us. They, who look at the cross, discover something of how wide and long and deep and high God’s love for a broken, dying world is.
In John 2:1-11 we read that Jesus restored the merriment at a wedding feast by changing the water into wine. Why did Jesus perform such a “worldly miracle”? John 3:1-17 says: Because God’s love is so big. We may have wedding feasts in this broken world, because God gives eternal life!
Author: N du Toit (Ds)