16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 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.
I want to look at this passage backwards – from the end to the beginning.
How do we feel when we know we’ve done something wrong? I want to hide. I don’t want to see the person I have wronged – I am ashamed. Look at small children, and you’ll often see a similar reaction – they avoid eye contact or run away when they know they’ve done something which will displease their parent – no matter how fair and loving that parent is. We have a natural tendency to want to conceal our wrongdoings. This passage says that light (Jesus) came into the world, and people were afraid and wanted to hide in the darkness because light would expose our sin.
BUT God loved us so much that he sent his Son to take the penalty for our sin. If we believe in him and accept the gift of eternal life he is offering, we will enter his light without fear and condemnation because he has taken away our evil deeds. Instead of hiding, we receive freedom, joy and eternal life.
Many people see God as perpetually angry. But the opposite is true. Our sin means that our starting position is separation from Him. God mounted a rescue plan because He wanted to restore our relationship with Him. The plan cost him dearly – his beloved Son Jesus suffered the burden of the whole world’s sin, as well as severe physical pain and death. And it was all because God loves us so much!
“Father God, thank you for loving us. Thank you that restoring our relationship with you is so important to you that you sent Jesus to die for us. Help me realise how wide, long, high and deep your love for me is.”
Written by Megan Cornell