John 3:16-21

During the season of Lent our devotions have been written by members of Faith Lutheran Church.  Today’s writer is Heather Daoust.

“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.

“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. 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.

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. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. 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.” John 3:16-21

“John 3:16” … You see it plastered on billboards and written in sharpie marker on flimsy poster board at football games. You see it colorfully displayed as graffiti on bridges. You hear it in catchy country songs.

John 3:16 is IT. It represents the whole theme of the Bible, right? And the message is simple: God gave up his only son, so that you could have eternal life; all you have to do is believe. Simple. Well, maybe not.

Yes, God’s grace is for everyone, and He loves all who believe, but if you keep reading, Jesus is asking for more than just belief. He is asking for exposure: “But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God”.

Believing is something we can do with ease, but exposure is much more difficult.

When you expose your body, you might feel shame or embarrassment. You might be revealing flaws and insecurities. When a journalist writes an exposé, he reveals secrets that may lead to condemnation or judgment. Exposure is often viewed negatively due to the shame associated with it.

So, when Jesus asks us to come into the light and expose all we’ve done, it can be uncomfortable. You are being asked to reveal your whole self to God, flaws and evil deeds included, so that you can feel the unconditional love and forgiveness that has been gifted to you.

Although many see John 3:16 as a simple summary of the sacrifice our Father has made in return for your faith and fidelity, I believe this passage is asking more of you.

Can you reveal your true self to God? Can you trust in his unconditional love for you? Can you face God and ask for forgiveness for those deeds that have caused you the most shame? Step into the light. He will be there.

Let us pray: Dear Heavenly Father, I confess to having flaws and doubts. I wish to reveal myself to you and come into the light as Jesus has taught us. Amen.

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