Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
What is God's judgment? In John 3:16-21 it is that the light has come and that people preferred the darkness. This may seem an odd statement for those of us who think as 21st century Americans. Judgment is usually stated in negative terms. But here, the first aspect of judgment mentioned is the coming of God's light, Jesus, into the world.
By speaking in this way, Jesus tells Nicodemus that God's judgment is for good. All the work of God is for the good of his world. He's reconciling the world to himself. It's his desire to show loving care for the created order.
When we are confronted by the idea that God is working for good, that He is actually putting things in order to nurture us, to enlighten us, to make us like him, we also come face to face with our own ideals and desires. We are forced to ask whether we actually want God's kingdom to be at work in us. We have to ask if we are willing to be changed into his image.
Sadly, Jesus' reading of the world in this passage says we are not. We love the darkness rather than the light. We don't want to be changed. We want to change ourselves and to glorify our image.
What hope is there? The light is still shining into our world. Jesus, the light of the world, shines in the darkness. All who see their sin in his light and who turn from their sin to his forgiveness are rescued from the darkness of sin and death. This is Jesus' solemn promise.
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