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April 18, 2012 – Wednesday of the Second Week of Easter. The reading is from Gospel of John 3:16-21.

First known russian manuscript Ostromir Gospel...

First known russian manuscript Ostromir Gospel. It was created by deacon Gregory for his patron, Posadnik Ostromir of Novgorod, in 1056 or 1057. Shown List 2. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.

Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil.

For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed.

But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.

Today’s gospel reading continues from yesterday’s.

In yesterday’s reading, the Johannine discourse shifts from dialogue to monologue:

Amen, amen, I say to you, we speak of what we know and we testify to what we have seen, but you people do not accept our testimony.

If I tell you about earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things?

No one has gone up to heaven except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man.

And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” (John 3:11–15)

to reflection of the evangelist in today’s reading (John 3:16–21).

The shift from singular through John 3:10 to plural in John 3:11

10 Jesus answered and said to him, “You are the teacher of Israel and you do not understand this?

11 Amen, amen, I say to you, we speak of what we know and we testify to what we have seen, but you people do not accept our testimony.

may reflect the early church’s controversy with the Jews.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. (John 3:16)

In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him. (1 John 4:9)

In the above to verses the words ‘gave‘ and ‘sent‘ are used as a gift in the incarnation, and also “over to death” in the crucifixion:

He who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all, how will he not also give us everything else along with him? (Romans 8:32)

Note the use of the words ‘condemn’ and ‘judgment’ in the following verses:

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil. (John 3:17-19)

Nor does the Father judge anyone, but he has given all judgment to his Son, (John 5:22)

Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes in the one who sent me has eternal life and will not come to condemnation, but has passed from death to life. (John 5:24)

Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned. (Mark 16:16)

I cannot do anything on my own; I judge as I hear, and my judgment is just, because I do not seek my own will but the will of the one who sent me. (John 5:30)

You judge by appearances, but I do not judge anyone. And even if I should judge, my judgment is valid, because I am not alone, but it is I and the Father who sent me. Even in your law it is written that the testimony of two men can be verified. I testify on my behalf and so does the Father who sent me. (John 8:15–18)

And if anyone hears my words and does not observe them, I do not condemn him, for I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world. (John 12:47)

The Greek root for ‘condemn’ means both judgment and condemnation. Jesus’ purpose is to save, but his coming provokes judgment; some condemn themselves by turning from the light. Judgment is not only future but is partially realized here and now.

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