Welcome to the Society of Saint John the Evangelist

Week 1 Day 2: God So Loved the World

“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.”
John 3:16

God So Loved the World
So which world is it that God loves? Is it the world, the creation in its original glory, or is it the world that is fallen, broken, imperfect, sinful? Well, of course it’s both.

-Br. Mark Brown



Transcript: Our theme for today is “God’s love for the world.”  John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” That’s, of course, one of the well-known and most beloved verses of the entire Bible. You can even see it at ballgames. John uses the word “world” a lot. In the fourth gospel, the word “world” appears about 80 times and that’s four times as many times as the word “world” in all three other gospels combined. So it’s a word that means a lot to him and it keeps recurring in the gospel.

But it seems to mean different things. On the one hand, “world” means the world as God created it.  This first chapter, the first chapter of the Gospel of John, talks about the world coming into existence through Christ, the living Word of God, and so it refers back to Genesis and God’s creating the world through the word, by speaking the word and when he’s done, he pronounces it very good so there’s that sense of the “world” being what God has created and being good.

But there’s also a sense in the gospel that “world” means perhaps what we might call the fallen world. Jesus says to Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world.” He refers to it in other places, to “the ruler of this world,” meaning probably the devil or the adversary of our nature. He speaks of the peace that he can give that the “world” cannot give and that the “world” doesn’t know him or doesn’t understand him or his followers.

So which world is it that God loves? Is it the world, the creation in its original glory, or is it the world that is fallen, broken, imperfect, sinful? Well, of course it’s both. God loves the world that he created but he loves the world even in its fallen and broken state. It says that he came into the world not to judge but to save this world.

So if I were praying with this passage, I think I would personalize it and reflect on how God loves all of me, not only whatever I might be in my heavenly perfection eventually, but all of me, even now – the good, the bad and the ugly, all things together – and give thanks that God’s love for me is so completely unconditional. If for me, then for everybody else as well, even those we might be tempted to judge.

We invite you to share your answer in the comments below or using #MeetingJesus

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71 Comments

  1. Mattie on March 2, 2018 at 22:15

    God SO loved the world…
    The word so in this passage I believes emphasizes just how much this world and the people who inhabit it are completely loved by God. Of course He loved the world in it’s original and sinless state. Even when mankind broke God’s heart He continued to love all of His creation. I’m so grateful that God knew sin would enter the world and provided a bridge to reconcile us to Him. Because he SO loved His world, the perfect creation and the fallen because of sin, He sent His ONLY begotten Son, the Lord Jesus to rescue us.

  2. David John Drew on February 21, 2018 at 08:43

    O God, so often I have turned away from the world, an entire world that secretly cries out for a ‘sip’ of that sweet love you offer to all, a taste of compassion and consideration, a world that desperately seeks to be cared for, healed and restored from its self-inflicted absurdities and mad, desperate dreams. A world that needs to be redeemed, restored and resolved back to its creator and the distant vision of an eternally perfect existence, away from its frustrated experience of limited mortality, all its futile ways, pointless and meaningless pursuits that accumulate only temporary satisfactions – that fade only too soon and leave a dilapidated, gnawing and unfulfilled desire in its stomach.

    Blessed Lord, I have seen the disturbing brightness and unceasing activities of gargantuan cities populated by lonely, distracted humans whose minds are infected with chaos – just like myself, I was one of the population lost in a sea of aimless lives. Cities of the world submerged in smoke, blinded by incessant acts of pitiless ignorance and flagrant egotistical ambitions, occupied and possessed by the demons of mental disease and disorder, plunged into unending despair or lacking hope for a better way, a brighter future. Yet still, I saw a small spark deep within the heart of the world longing for a loving touch, yet ashamed, embarrassed, perhaps too insolent or proud to admit it – and so the world built high walls to protect itself from any outside incursion, to lock itself inside its own insanity, to preserve its independence. Isolated from the way, the truth and the life.

    In my own peculiar madness, I confess that I was such a world, like many others. I turned away from the horrible reality of facing myself. Yet, not I nor anyone else truly wants or desires to live and die in a hopeless darkness, but longs for the true, natural light to illuminate and inspire them, to lift them out of tedious, never ending misery. I see all the artificial lights created by the world to enlighten itself in the absence of the true light of Divine revelation and realization… but merely human light is not enough. If we are perceptive enough it is possible to see that seed of light somewhere within us all, waiting to be nourished and tended… a light that begins as a tiny ember, and grows into a blazing fire that radiates and burns with an eternal flame. Within each and every world that we call human is the fragment of a star waiting to burst forth and illuminate the universe around – driving back the darkness and growing into unending life, never to be consumed or extinguished… a world loved, redeemed and restored back to its original, perfect conception.

    + Amen

    Pax – David

  3. Jane B on February 20, 2018 at 03:20

    Last week I went to the funeral because a student I once had, lost her 16 year old daughter. She was brought up in a Christian home and she told me her daughter was beautiful and positive but a lifelong struggle with epilepsy( 3 kinds) kept making life painful. She died on Feb 10th of a grand-mal seizure, her third that day! How does one talk to friends in that situation when they ask Why her God? Why did she have to suffer? Why did her mother lose her only child?
    I know God loves us but it is difficult to find words to answer these hard questions.

    • Gwen on February 23, 2018 at 07:06

      # Meeting Jesus
      God so love his children in this world he gave his son as the ultimate sacrifice for our sinful. There is no doubt that God loves me, I need to be more consistent in my behavior that reflects a child of God.
      Throughout John reading,Jesus pleads with us to love one another. yet I find that sometimes when the worldly activity smothers my heartfelt good intentions I grow weak and make foolish decisions. It’s not very rewarding to feel at fault with some of my decisions. However I ask God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit to be with me and help me to be better as a decision maker. I ask the Holy Spirit to be my lead as I perform my daily life activities in Jesus precious name amen.

  4. John G. on February 17, 2018 at 23:17

    When I hard John 3:16 again, I wept for my original family which was often torn by strife. And yet, I had been to church and heard these words, and I knew God loved my family as much as he loved me. Now in my seventh decade of life, I hear the church is where people of differing opinions can stand together around the Lord’s table in unity. I struggle with people whose opinions differ from mine. Don’t I think what is good and do the right thing? Not always. I need humility to avoid judging others (and myself).. That has to do with meeting God in members of the faith community. So may it be!

    • Bishop Hollywood on February 19, 2018 at 20:21

      Good morning. God is good. Not some of the time but all the time. When you think about how much God loves us, it’s absolutely amazing. It’s amazing to me because we’re talking about the creator of everything loving and wanting the best for us,all the time. All we have to do is choose to listen and obey. Is that going to be easy in the society we live in, no, but remember again that we have God with us all the time, showing us his unconditional love. Knowing this, all things are possible. Thank you and may God continue to bless each and everyone.

  5. Vanessa Rose on February 17, 2018 at 23:04

    God as we know is “Omnipresent and Omnipotent (All Powerful)”. He is everywhere at the name time, and very comforting to know this, especially when there is such unrest in the world and as Cassandra W stated the tragedy of the Florida shootings. We need to be encouraged that God is with us, in our lives in the hills and valley’s of our lives. I was reminder by our priest that “Meeting Jesus” is being used by many congregations around the world collectively, so the strength of this can be felt in our prayer together.
    This is wonderful for we know the strength of community and the infinite power of prayer….my thoughts.
    God continues to speak to us individually, and the wider church.

  6. Cassandra Winger on February 17, 2018 at 07:17

    As we as people, as Christians listen to our televisions, radios, etc. we can’t help but share the pain of the families in Florida and the many school shootings before Ash Wednesday / Valentines Day when we were to express our love for each other as God did when he gave his son, BUT that wasn’t this world. This is so quickly becoming a world of hate for one another starting with our children.
    At this start of our Lenten journey, we need to hear His word and listen for the answer of how to heal our world.

  7. Jack in B.C. on February 17, 2018 at 00:02

    Thank you again for this. At the end of John 16, Jesus says, “I have said these things to you so that in me you may have peace; in the world you face persecution, but take courage: I have conquered the world.” My struggle just now is that I am experiencing some of that “persecution” that Jesus promised (!). Vicious criticism, malicious slander – both deeply wounding and potentially damaging to my “career” (such as it is). This is some of the heavy scat I am facing. I appreciate your words about how God loves me – good, bad, ugly – as he loves the world; I acknowledge that if God loves me (and the world), good, bad, ugly, that he also loves my tormentors and adversaries. I find myself praying with alacrity the Psalms that call on God to punish the “evil doers”! But I am struggling to see my way to acknowledge God’s love for them also (I DO acknowledge it!), and I am praying the God will give me the grace to be in this situation in a way that is consistent with God’s love for me and for them. Really I know that the “persecution” I am experiencing is more (or at least as much) to do with their own inner state than it really has to do with me. But it is really hard to be collateral damage. May I (can I?) allow God’s love for me to flow through me to those who are seeking to do me harm.

    • Mattie on March 2, 2018 at 22:17

      “I have said these things to you so that in me you may have peace; in the world you face persecution, but take courage: I have conquered the world.”

      Thank you for this reminder!

  8. Donna on February 15, 2018 at 21:49

    My challenge is not only does God love me in my imperfect and broken state but He also loves others………Even the ones who have persecuted and hurt me.

  9. James on February 15, 2018 at 21:43

    I have a tendency to skip over this passage when I encounter it. It’s not that it’s not of utmost importance but more because of it’s ubiquitous nature. I’ve become complacent. Oh, look over here…there it is again.Is there no other passage we can use to demonstrate God’s love to an unsaved world? We see the passage even in secular situations: at sporting events, bus stops, billboards etc.
    But in reality, those 27 words are the essence of our faith and the foundational truth for those new to Christianity.
    The truth in the verse is made evident in the fact that it is for “everyone” who believes, not just the Christian, Churchgoer, black or white, short or tall, but for everyone who believes.
    God is not asking us to understand but to believe. We will never completely understand how deep His love is this side of Heaven, so he requires us only to “believe” and have faith.

  10. Julie on February 15, 2018 at 21:40

    If God loves me and loves the world unconditionally, I have to also believe that He also loves Nikolas Cruz, and the others like him who have done the unspeakable. God DOES love them unconditionally. It saddens me that Nikolas and others like him probably don’t know they are loved like that or they are too sick in the head to realize that.

    My prayers are with the families, children and all who have experienced the horror of shootings and war that they will all know God’s unconditional love.

    Thank you, Lord, for loving me unconditionallly in all my “humanness”.

  11. Eleana on February 15, 2018 at 18:08

    I am relieved that God continually loves me, in spite of my sins, in spite of my failures and uses this love to be in relationship with Him. I am encouraged by this love to be a kinder, more compassionate person and to love for the Christ in others in each of my dealings. Thank you Lord, for your amazing and continual love and I know you reside in my heart through the Holy Spirit. I love you God!

  12. Rick Rowe on February 14, 2018 at 22:48

    I think about God’s unconditional love for all of his children and all beings on this planet. It makes me think that we can increase that feeling of God’s love for us if we act as a conduit of that love and allow it to pass from God thru us to all the other beings we come in contact with. It reminds me also of a phrase I’ve heard many times about people and money. That is ( the man ((person)) who attains money and holds on to it, all of it , will probably not be blessed with any more…..in other words “let it pass thru you to others and the flow of that good fortune will continue. This is also the way it is ( I believe) with God’s love for us. If we extend that love to others, we open ourselves for more contact with God’s unconditional love.

    • Julie on February 15, 2018 at 21:42

      Absolutely. We can be “God’s love with skin on.” 🙂

  13. Michael Bouchard on February 14, 2018 at 11:36

    Three things abide, faith hope and love but the greatest of these is love. God loves the world. The world was created because of God’s love. God loves mankind because he created us in his image. He sent His Son to teach us how to love so that we might experience for ourselves the love He feels. If they know the true meaning of love why do people doubt? How can they not believe in God? Why is it that people can believe the amazing things that are happening today through technology but cannot believe that God did the same things many years ago as told in the Bible? We think nothing today of our phones and computers translating speech and text but before now could not believe that many people of different cultures present at the Pentecost could understand in their own languages what the apostles were saying. Is not God more powerful than an iPhone or whatever man can create?

  14. Ginny Berkey on February 14, 2018 at 04:46

    If God can love me as imperfect as I am, I need to love and reach out to those around me. Stranger or friend, I need to be caring, loving and understanding of them. Sometimes it is easy and other times I try not to get frustrated.

    • Dana Taylor on February 22, 2018 at 05:23

      I totally agree with Ginny. Working with an outreach ministry in my area is giving me the special opportunity Ginny is talking about. There is no better feeling than chatting with people and bringing a smile to their faces. We must remember we are all Gods children no matter what our circumstances are.

  15. kevin on February 14, 2018 at 02:14

    i don’t think it really matters wich world he means . what the focus should be on is He gave up His son for us who believe for eternity

  16. Nicki on February 14, 2018 at 00:48

    Knowing unconditional love through birthing two children and witnessing the births of their four children, and now being blessed with three great grandchildren, I’ve been blessed with a good dose of understanding the possibility and the reality of unconditional love. It’s one of God’s greatest gifts to me. So, I do know God’s unconditional love. It’s meeting it and returning it that is my present attempt.

  17. Pam on February 13, 2018 at 19:52

    Because God loves me and accepts me as I am, in gratefulness I love God. A consequence of loving God is to love all that he loves–the natural world and everyone in it. In the current political climate, the latter is particularly hard to do. To look past the expressions of hate, the anger, the disregard for those who have so little in life and see another as someone to love is very difficult. I can pray that God will soften hearts, but do I love those I see in that light? Not always.

  18. Patricia George on February 13, 2018 at 19:13

    God is Love… Every atom of every animal, plant, mineral or microorganismal vibrates and exists with His energy… We are all together part of His whole. Therefore, we, too, are made of Love. How easy we forget that… When we look to judge others. Don’t we see that it is the same as looking in the mirror and judging what you see. When you lookin a mirror, it appears as if there is a person separate from yourself, but it is only an illusion. All the worldly things appear to be separate entities but that it an illusion too. So, now…. Love your neighbour as yourself… Hugs to all!

  19. Joseph Rutter on February 13, 2018 at 17:51

    This verse has often been associated with Jesus death on the cross as a sacrifice to God, but I now hear it differently. The entirety of Jesus’ life, the stories, the teachings, the miracles, the model for living in harmony with God‘s loving purposes, all are a continuing, vital and ever present way for us to live IN God‘s dream for creation. This loved world is not some post death, pearly gated, cloud filled realm, but rather it is here and now. God’s dream is all around us just waiting to be embraced.

    • Marilyn Konstapel on March 1, 2018 at 07:24

      Thank you for your response Joseph. I was glad to read there are others who don’t interpret this verse to mean that Jesus’ death was a sacrifice for Christian believers only. But instead see Jesus’ life and death as an inspiration for living in harmony with Gods’ purpose.

  20. Jaan S on February 13, 2018 at 09:32

    Sometimes songs say what is on my heart more than words. It is only in my brokenness holding God’s hand do I feel at peace. Nothing, no one or circumstance can ever fill the emptiness I feel. It is only in God’s love do I find peace. It is in these lines from the Alarm I find reflection No greater Love

    No greater love, from one to another. when times are tough,
    when life has been broken. when i was down, you picked me up.
    you showed me the truth, when i was blinded. told me a lie
    when i couldn’t face the truth. when i was lost, you brought me home.
    you showed me all thats beautiful, and everything thats meaningful
    showed me how to live again when all i wanted was an end.
    No greater love from one to another. no stronger vows have ever been
    spoken.
    you reached out for me, with all of my sins. and worldly goods, and all
    of my promises that i would break. you took the blame. you showed me all that
    i possess and everything thats meaningless. told me not to be afraid theres
    nothing to be scared of
    No greater love from one to another. no stronger vows have ever been
    spoken. no greater love. no greater love

    The Alarm No Greater Love from the Blood Red CD

  21. Ruth on February 13, 2018 at 08:30

    Thank you so much for this message. I needed that.

  22. Tom Bailey on February 13, 2018 at 05:31

    I suggest the word “Cosmos” to describe what God created and what God desires for creation as it is now.

  23. Richard on February 13, 2018 at 03:17

    I pray to Jesus for others & myself often although I fall short of who I want to be.
    We all seem to have these days & what’s important is that we do our best and be satisfied with that effort.

  24. Helen on February 13, 2018 at 01:40

    God loves us always and completely however we may come into relationship with God. I don’t think it is a question of polarities but a mixture of worlds.

  25. Samia on February 13, 2018 at 01:39

    “God is Love”

  26. Nicola on February 13, 2018 at 01:39

    “God is Love”

  27. Jules on February 13, 2018 at 01:38

    God loves us not IN SPITE of who we are but because of who we are. That includes everything that we are, everything we do or think. God may be shaking God’s head that we can be so dense, but God loves us as we are. Not in spite of who we are

  28. Nicola on February 13, 2018 at 01:29

    I, shamefully, am very quick to judge. It is something I see I need to reflect on and improve! The modern world is so dispiriting, so shallow, so disposable. It would be easy to think God had forsaken us. Thankfully, beautiful Mother Nature is there to provide sweet proof of His love. No birds today, but a hearty woof from a pastoral dog! Thank you.

  29. Mary on February 13, 2018 at 00:06

    While fixing breakfast I often sing the hymn “New every morning is the love ..”. to which I’ve added this verse:
    “View everyone through a filter of love
    As God views us from ‘up above’.
    Forgiving hurts, encouraging
    To be good servants of our King. “

  30. Mary Anderson on February 12, 2018 at 23:57

    I thank God every day for loving me unconditionally. I am pulled through any darkness, knowing He is there, holding on to me, never letting go.

  31. Keith Aldred on February 12, 2018 at 23:40

    God loves us unconditionally as His children and we must respond by loving Him. That’s where our faith comes in.

  32. Patricia Barnes on February 12, 2018 at 22:25

    I still struggle, as a Christian of 50 years+, to recognise that God loves me unconditionally – and abides in me as I abide in him. What a wonderful miracle! God not only loves the sinful me but the me who will meet him in eternity!

  33. Jennifer on February 12, 2018 at 21:48

    I struggle with the concept of God’s unconditional love for me in John 3:16 and my imperfect love for Him. John 14:15 “if you love me you will keep my commandments”. It feels ungrateful to accept God’s perfect love when I act like His grace did not come at a great cost. Am I honouring God’s unconditional love when I continue in willful sin doing things I know God’s word calls sin? God, please help me to remember 1 John 2: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. My little children, I am writing these things to you that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” I want to accept and also honour and respect God’s unconditional love for me.

    What then about those we might be tempted to judge? With God’s help I will try to remember Romans 14 “But you, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we all shall stand before the judgment seat of God so then each of us shall give account of himself to God. So then let us not judge one another anymore but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or stumbling block in a brother’s way. Let us pursue the things that make for peace and the building up of one another.”

  34. David A on February 12, 2018 at 21:15

    The world in its fullness and in its fallen and broken state is inclusive. It is about the Incarnation, the Word (Logos) becoming human, becoming one of us. Believing in Jesus is to believe in the inclusiveness of the Incarnation. We are not to set this statement as an exclusive doctrine in which Christians are saved and all others are not. It is time to build bridges of reconciliations so all people are at unity with God and each other.

    • Marilyn Konstapel on March 1, 2018 at 09:42

      Thank you David, for sharing your thoughts. It helped me to know that others understand that Jesus’ life on earth was about inclusiveness, rather than the exclusive doctrine often preached in Christian churches. I though you might like to read that I read your response to a Lenten study group at my local church. And it resonated with many who were there. Thank you

  35. Elizabeth Harris on February 12, 2018 at 20:46

    A way I can think about this–besides personalizing it–is to universalize it, if that’s the right word. In Creation, God gave the cosmos and life within it freedom to evolve separate from God. And what we see of that on Earth is a glorious, astounding array of species, many very beautiful and intriguing, all driven passionately to live and propagate and, in the attempt, innocently consuming and destroying the lives of others. Humans are–whatever else–omnivorous, territorial animals. But when we evolved also to wonder about our origins and our destination in time and what we might owe to them and how we ought to behave to each other, we developed self-consciousness and became responsible. God began to work in human culture with Law and covenant, Prophets, Incarnation, Church–and maybe some other religions–offering us ways to choose God’s way, the good way. Subject to compulsions and ignorance and confusions, we often don’t/”can’t.” Of course God loves us: he caused and allowed us, in all our limitation. I think God also loves us as an ongoing project, in God’s Idea of what we can be.

  36. Deb Kosche on February 12, 2018 at 20:18

    I know I cannot fully know God’s love for all of the, good, the bad, the beautiful, the ugly, in my current body. But I can have an inkling as a parent.

  37. kay on February 12, 2018 at 19:54

    I think God’s love, pardon came into the world. Forgiveness, Love, Mercy of God covers us like a canopy in the universe. Salvation is done by Christ for the world. However, when we meet Christ in person, salvation become very intimate, personal relationship with Christ. I used to think that the world is saved, all people in the past, present and future are saved, can go to heaven. But knowing Christ personally will bring peace in my soul. To love myself as God loves me is humility. Not being able to love myself as God loves me is arrogance. God help me to humble myself, please.

    • Steve on February 12, 2018 at 23:21

      Amen!

  38. Victoria on February 12, 2018 at 18:46

    I know this truth of God’s love but struggle to believe because my experiences of ‘love’ comes with so much criticism about how much better I or things can be if I change this one thing or another. I often pray that God will teach me to love the way I should…the way me wants me to, with acceptance even when its hard and I think the irony is about accepting His LOVE. I pray this time over the next weeks will enable me to accept His unconditional Love with utter abandon.

  39. Valerie on February 12, 2018 at 18:28

    I am so grateful for this posting today. I am a sinner. I have been loved in spite of my sin.That is overwhelmingly good news.

  40. Susan on February 12, 2018 at 18:09

    God so loved…. that he gave…..
    Right now I am recovering from a devasatating surgery. A bilateral mastectomy. I am not able to have reconstruction because of damage done to my skin by radiation 6 years ago. I need for God to help me continue to love myself in my broken state. I need to love myself enough not to lose myself to grief.

    • Bobbi on February 12, 2018 at 22:03

      Susan, I have written your name on today’s prayer list and in my prayer book. I pray for healing and that you will feel God’s love and know God is lifting you from grief. Bobbi

    • Bobbi on February 12, 2018 at 22:06

      It is great comfort to feel God’s embrace of both worlds I live in—the world God created and the world of human beings. God accepts my flaws and lifts up a created world built on love. God loves me as I am and offers me hope that I can experience “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”

    • Barb on February 12, 2018 at 23:11

      Susan, today i know that you are perfect, and pray that you can feel this. As God’s arms gently, enfold you, may you feel the warmth of our love. We have been give love to share with you and i feel there are so many loving prayers with you at this time. You have become a part of my artistic response today.

    • Amy D on February 13, 2018 at 06:01

      Wow, thank you for sharing this. Your post resonates with me. I think it’s some what easier to accept that God loves us than it is for us to Love ourselves. You’ve given me much to think about.

    • Barbara on February 13, 2018 at 18:38

      Your body is just for this world. God loves your heart and soul and all the potential you have in Him despite your brokenness. This is an opportunity to let Him shine through that brokenness. Love what God sees, not what you see in the mirror. ❤️

    • Donna on February 15, 2018 at 19:38

      First off, I pray that your cancer is forever gone! I hope I am reading your concerns correctly that they stem from you not being able to have reconstruction surgery. I experienced a severe Grease Burn from Hot burning Grease being thrown on me. Thank goodness it hit my scalp, back and hand. It was severe second and Third Degree Burns that left horrible scars on my back. I was able to have hair transplants. This happened when I was 20. Living in Florida it took a long time to don anything that exposed my burn scars. I remember being scared to tell my boyfriend which became my husband about my disfiguration and told him I have something I really need to share with you. When I showed him my scars, he said is that all?? We are indeed the hardest on ourselves. That was 40 years ago now but remember the healing process. Those feelings you have will pass. Love yourself for what is in your heart and you will with time get by the physical part. God love you friend.

  41. Charles on February 12, 2018 at 17:33

    I am pondering the gap between God loving the world as it is and the kingdom coming into being in Jesus. We have a long way to go for the kingdom to be realized. Can I live in this gap without judgement?

  42. Susan Sevier on February 12, 2018 at 16:51

    What strikes me as I listen to this reflection is my own discomfort at the idea of loving the whole world. Current social currents have caused me to retract the outer boundaries of that love, not willingly, not knowingly, but contract nonetheless. I will need to sit with that for a while, because if God has not hard edges to love, no boundaries, I cannot afford even unconscious ones.

    • Jolene on February 14, 2018 at 05:31

      Thanks for sharing this, Susan. Until I read your comment, I didn’t realize that I’ve had this happen to me too.

    • Liberty Ford on February 17, 2018 at 19:50

      Thanks for that, John David. Condemnation not a greased chute to hell but a reprimand of unevolved perception.

    • Joe Hayward on February 19, 2018 at 04:37

      I share your difficulty Susan. My boundaries are tested daily as I want to listen tio the fake news that says that certain cultures are suspect. I have to embrace God’s World view every day and embrace His boundless love for all groups irrespective of how I feel about them.

  43. Ruth rogers on February 12, 2018 at 16:45

    I believe god lov s all of the surroundings of the universe and loves everything around the world I believe I am one of his followers to show the world love and share peoples differences show love to have peace in the world

  44. Margaret Masui on February 12, 2018 at 16:44

    For me this verse is for ‘those who believe in Jesus’- ‘will have eternal life’ – for me a most important part of my christian faith.

  45. John David Spangler on February 12, 2018 at 16:27

    John 3:17 ‘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 3.18-36 “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 judgement, 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.”

    I have long thought that verse 3:17 is more important, more meaningful than “the well-known and most beloved verses of the entire Bible”, verse 3:16. In 3:17, it is explained that God came not to just those who believe in Him but to the “world”, all of His creation. This is the basis for my thought. I also think that “condemn” does not mean sending non-believers to hell but simply means the expression of disapproval. It could be well argued that any condemnation is self-imposed in that by not-believing one misses the abundant life that God has offered and created.

    • Mary on February 13, 2018 at 21:48

      Well said. This is helpful to me. Thank you.

    • Liberty Ford on February 17, 2018 at 19:48

      Thanks for that, John David. Condemnation not a greased chute to hell but a reprimand of unevolved perception.

  46. Judy on February 12, 2018 at 16:21

    But of course this is the most fundamental truth of the gospel. Why then is it the hardest to really internalize; to really believe?

    • Meg on February 13, 2018 at 22:32

      It seems the world layers up wounds and scars; mental, emotional, spiritual and physical as we journey through life. Despite growing up hearing the Gospel from birth, that fundimental truth did not become my truth until God drew me into community with our current congregation who lived by and reminded me of that truth as often as needed. The lay people in our church family know we are called to be Christ’s hands and feet in this world, and they listen, speak, pray and act accordingly.

  47. Pam on February 12, 2018 at 16:16

    If God can love me in all my faults and brokenness, then I am to love others in the same way. This is peace.

  48. Richard Dixon on February 12, 2018 at 16:04

    “…..everyone who believes in him”. That word believe implies so many things – to trust him, follow him, walk in his way, so many things, maybe suffer as he suffered….please Help me Lord.

  49. Hardelio M. Alfeche, Jr. on February 12, 2018 at 04:14

    I thank God for this unconditional love for me even amidst my imperfections, my sinfulness, even though I am a bisexual he showed his love for me by choosing me as a priest on his altar to preach his love to the world.

    • Doris on February 15, 2018 at 20:11

      Of course God loves you, Hardello! You are so beautiful and uniquely created. Blessings and love. Doris

  50. Monique Jevne on February 11, 2018 at 22:38

    I so love to love you unconditionally, yet and it is such a challenge! G_D’s will be done!

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