Biblical Meat Cleavers!

John 3:14-21

Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him. ”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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 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.This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it maybe seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

Tough passage to read, even tougher to hear standing next to my non believing friends as a preacher shouts it, in anger. Did John imagine that this passage might be used as a scriptural meat cleaver by some, to carve up humanity? As I read the passage I cant, not hear the anger, because that’s how I have heard it read by others, a grand judgement and tearing apart of humanity. I wonder could John be writing for an effect or some reaction, to compel his readers, to find and know God, just as advertisers do today, connecting with our base motivations, anxieties and fears, for the product they want us to buy.

As I read more closely, I have in mind the God, who sent his son to die for all, and the declaration by one of Jesus disciples, that the love of God is not something you can be separated from, neither in death nor life, or demons or angels… I discover, buried in the words of judgement, an image, of the non believer who despite “standing condemned for their unbeliefare not made to grovel before God in fear, aren’t prostrate, nor are in chains. Yet they stand, with the company of Heaven before God. I imagine shoulder to shoulder with the so called saved, as we wait for heavens mercy poured out on us. As it was on the cross and cave.

We will each stand before the Lord as people who have all denied Jesus Christ in some way. Who have not let him into every area, corner, or crevice of our lives. We, like the disciples of old, have not always listened to, or allowed ourselves to be lead by the living God.

Collectively humanity, is scattered on the road between complete unbelief and face to face with Jesus. Yes there is a clear choice, but lets not forget whose in charge, in my view, of deciding eternal things. It isn’t you, or me, or the church, but Jesus. Lets remember as we speak to others of the grace and love of God. That the one we worship, treated unbelievers and believers alike with dignity, mercy and love. Whether they were before him on the mountain when they were hungry and were feed regardless of their number or level of faith, in the streets needing help and received healing as they needed it, around the meal table, as a rejected people drawn to Jesus, because he connected with them, or in the persons home at a bedside of someone who was sick, discovering restoration.

Lord God give me the quality of mercy for others that comes from your heart, rather than my own. Amen

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