21st June 2020

The Whole World

“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.”
John 3:16 (NIV)

It is often helpful to look at a scripture at arm’s length. Jesus’ made this powerful, inclusive statement, (quoted above) in the middle of a personal conversation with Nicodemus, an elite Jewish teacher, part of the ruling class. Jesus met Nicodemus on his terms—teacher to teacher. Jesus’ concept that an actual second birth was required to enter the eternal kingdom totally stupefied Nicodemus. But this encounter makes sense because Jesus, being Jewish, would engage with other Jews, and especially a leader with influence.

Notice the progression. The next story is the woman at the well. She was the topic of much gossip—married five times and now with a man with whom she’s not married. And she was a Samaritan. These were a people who had constant tension with the Jews. So, why is Jesus the rabbi talking to a Samaritan, and a woman? Upstanding rabbis didn’t do this.

Later, though the Samaritans wanted Jesus to stay, after a couple of days he and the disciples made their way north to Cana. There Jesus heals an official’s son, saying to him, “Go, your son will live.” This officer, no doubt a wealthy aristocrat, served in Herod’s court and could’ve been a Jew or Gentile. And yet he could do nothing with all his means, to save his dying child. Jesus was his last and best hope.

When Jesus walked this earth, he wasn’t satisfied with simply making the sweeping statement that his Father so loved the world—from a distance. The Father’s love was demonstrated through the flesh and blood expression of his one and only son. Jesus revealed through these three encounters that he came for the “whole world.”

And Nicodemus? “…With Pilate’s permission, he (Joseph of Arimathea) came and took the body away. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night….” (John 19:38-39). He who first approached the Son of God under the cover of darkness, now boldly appears with other believers to claim the body of Jesus for burial.

Prayer
Holy Father, thank you for your love for us, and for revealing it so tangibly. May it make changes in us as it did in Nicodemus. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Amen

Presented by Greg Williams
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About the Presenter:
The Day by Day each Sunday is taken from ‘Speaking of Life,’ (https://www.gci.org/videos/media-speaking-of-life/), a public resource video on the USA website of Grace Communion International. Greg Williams is President of Grace Communion International and lives in North Carolina, USA.

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You are welcome to attend one of our local Church congregations located throughout the UK and Ireland. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.gracecom.church under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.

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