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4th Sunday of Lent - Cycle B

John 3:14-21

“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.” (John 3:17)

As Jesus speaks with Nicodemus under the cover of night, He says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.” This is an opportunity for Nicodemus to recognize the Son of God.

Jesus explains that “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.”  This is a difficult statement–in the time of Jesus and our own–but it is helpful to consider the context of Jesus speaking with Nicodemus.

Nicodemus has come to Jesus in the dark, in secret.  He is grappling with the implications of Jesus’ identity, although the Son of Man stands before him.  Even facing His undeniable presence, Nicodemus still has questions.  As a Pharisee, he must also hide his curiosity.  Yet Jesus still meets with him.  He does not turn Nicodemus away or condemn him because of his fear.

In the same way, Jesus is always here with us.  He’ll meet us where we’re at and give us what we need.  Yet his words hold strength and conviction as He says, “Come to the light.”  Since He is always before us, we are always being called to recognize Him and believe.

When He tells Nicodemus, “the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil,” He is speaking of Himself.  We can see how people hated Jesus and even sought to end his life, because they feared the change He was bringing. Today, we turn away from Jesus because we would rather hold onto our own ways that keep us in darkness.  We fear what will happen when the light is cast on us.

Still, that is the opportunity we are given, especially during Lent.  Allowing ourselves to be exposed is no easy task.  But we can take solace in what Jesus says to Nicodemus: “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.”  Our vulnerability in front of Christ and the world is not our end goal, but the beginning which leads to salvation.



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