Fourth Sunday of LENT

Nicodemus appears only in John’s Gospel.  A member of the Jewish Sanhedrin, he is attracted by Jesus’ miracles and recognizes Him as “a teacher who has come from God”.  Yet Nicodemus seems unsure of any larger claims.

Jesus explains to him that He will bring salvation by being “lifted up” on the cross.  “Lifted up” is another Greek word with two meanings: physically lifted up, and exaltation.  Those who accept Jesus as the crucified/exalted revelation of God thereby receive eternal life (verse 15).  John’s Gospel is a proclamation of this message, and an invitation to accept it.

Verse 16 sounds this message again, for emphasis.  God “gave” His only Son in two senses: He gave Him as a gift to us through the word becoming flesh, and gave Him up to death for us on the cross.   That fact is the measure of God’s love for us.  God does not seek to condemn us, but to give us eternal life through His Son.  Those who accept Jesus as God’s revelation receive eternal life; those who reject Jesus reject the eternal life He brings, and thereby condemn themselves to the death which is the fate of all those born of flesh alone.

Deciding for or against Jesus therefore has eternal consequences, but it also has consequences here and now.  Rejecting Jesus and His message goes hand in hand with leading a wicked life, for that too is the way of all flesh untouched by grace.

God Bless

Msgr. Powell