Morrisville United Methodist Church
The Whole World?
A Pharisee named Nicodemus comes under the cover of night to ask his questions. We can only assume that he will either be embarrassed or punished by his peers for seeking out Jesus. Though he is a Pharisee Jesus treats him like a seeker, not an enemy. What Nicodemus hears seems to be mysterious to him. "You must be born again." And then "For God so loved the world...." The whole world? Some people seem to think God only loves some of the people. Or loves some a bit more than others. And later "that the world might be saved..." Not just a select few, but the world.
Believers sometimes feel alienated from the world, with all of its conflict, sin, and injustice. Sometimes we just want to condemn and withdraw from the world around us. It's understandable, but not in the spirit of the one who loves the world and continually reaches out with the offer of grace.
"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."
What happened to Nicodemus? He apparently took the message to heart, and shows up at the end of the gospel when he assists Joseph of Arimathea in burying Jesus. Loving is our business, not condemning. What would happen if we really loved the world, as God loves the world?
Action Step: Reflect on the situations that make you want to withdraw from the world. How can you offer or practice God's love in those situations?
Prayer: God of love, show me how I can love the world that I live in, the world that you love. Amen.