Reflections: May 24, 2021
By Jeffrey Horn
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Yesterday we celebrated the Feast of Pentecost. Now, for two days after Pentecost, the Church focuses on readings that help us remember important things about the Holy Spirit and His work. The Gospel reading for Pentecost Monday is the much-loved Gospel proclamation from John 3. We hear anew that God the Father gave His only Son, Jesus, and that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. Thanks be to God!
But did you notice something? In this reading, the Father and the Son are mentioned directly, but not the Holy Spirit. Is the Spirit missing in John 3:16? By no means! The Holy Spirit is here in this beautiful verse, because He and He alone is the One who creates faith in the heart of a believer. When it says, ". . . that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life," the Holy Spirit is right there. For only the Spirit can create this faith in a believer and keep it alive day in and day out until a believer is in heaven.
The Spirit is the One who inspired the apostle John to write these words of Jesus. The Spirit is the One who caused these words to be preached to all nations. And the Spirit is the One who led translators to provide these words of Christ in your language so you can read them and know accurately what Jesus said.
From the moment these words were spoken by Christ, the Spirit has been working to make sure that what He said would be brought to you (and to all the Church around the world), that these words would strengthen your faith and build you up in Christ. And He continues to do this work in you throughout your life. When you sit down in your old age to read John 3 once more, the Spirit will work through that Word yet again to build you up in Christ. As you hear Christ in this text you know your sins are forgiven and you have eternal life. It is the Spirit who brings this Word to you and causes you to believe it and who keeps that faith alive.
For all these things we give thanks to the Holy Spirit and praise Him for His work! We turn our attention where He directs us in this text, to believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, whom the Father sent to save us. Thanks be to God! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
God would not have the sinner die; His Son with saving grace is nigh; His Spirit in the Word declares how we in Christ are heaven's heirs. ("God Loved the World So That He Gave" LSB 571, st.3)
-Rev. Jeffrey Horn is the pastor of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Escondido, CA
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