God is not a harsh, cruel ruler eager to pour his anger.  His heart is filled with tenderness toward man and He has gone to the utmost cost to save us all.  God could have sent his Son to condemn the world, but he did not do so.  On the contrary, God sent Jesus here to suffer, bleed, and die in order that the world through Christ might be saved.  The work of Lord Jesus on the Cross is of such tremendous value that all sinners everywhere can be saved if they would receive him.

    Unfortunately, all of mankind is divided into two classes:  either believers or non-believers.  Our eternal fate is determined by the attitude we take toward the Son of God.  The one who trusts the Savior is not condemned, but the one who does not trust Jesus is condemned already.  The Lord Jesus Christ has finished the work of salvation, now it up to us to accept or reject Christ.  It is a terrible thing to reject such a free gift of love, yet some do.  If a person will not believe on the Lord Jesus, God can do nothing else but condemn them.

    Truly, Jesus was the light of the world.  He was the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.  He died for the sins of the whole world.  But does man love him for this?  No, often time’s man rejects Christ.  People prefer their sins to having Jesus as Savior and so they reject Him.  Creatures that live under flat rocks flee when the rock is overturned and exposed to the light, just as the wicked flee from the presence of Christ.  Those who love sin hate the light, because the light exposes their sinfulness.

    When Jesus was here in the world, sinful people were made uncomfortable by his presence because he revealed their awful condition by his own holiness.  The best way to reveal the crookedness of one stick is to place a straight stick beside it as a standard.  Coming into the world as a Perfect Man, the Lord Jesus (our standard) revealed the crookedness of all of us by comparison.  But when we come to Jesus, we can trust completely in the Savior and be born again through faith in our Lord Christ.

    Our challenge is to do three things.  First, when grappling with matters regarding the kingdom of heaven we should avoid thinking like Nicodemus.  In other words, in pursuing spiritual matters, try to avoid concrete thinking.  Accept and experience the love of our Father.  Second, just as the Israelites were physically saved by looking upon the serpent and staff, we too as children of God can be spiritually saved by turning, in faith, to God’s own Son, Jesus Christ.  Thirdly, Jesus is the light of our world.  He is the standard by which we measure God’s love and our own spiritual growth.  We are called to the light; we are called to come to Jesus.  We are called to abide in our heavenly Father’s love through his free gift of salvation.

    In conclusion, I’ll leave you with a quote from Augustine of Hippo, “God loves each of us as if there were only one of us to love.

    Let us pray.  Dear Jesus, how patient you have been with me.  Often I have failed you, yet you have not turned away from me.  But, with compassionate love you have sought me and drawn me to your forgiving heart.  Lord, when you were mistreated, misunderstood, hurt and bruised in body and sorrowful soul you prayed, “Father forgive them.”  Grant me the grace to face the many vexing problems of the day with patience and find in you rest, and peace, and contentment.  Let me lean on your strength and guidance and abide with you.  Help me live in your favor and to love my neighbors.  Amen.

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