Reflections: Monday the First Week of Pentecost

May 29, 2023

Today’s Reading: John 3:16-21

Daily Lectionary: Numbers 22:1-20, Luke 22:1-23

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. (John 3:17)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. It’s a safe guess that most of us know John 3:16. It rolls off the tongue easily. It’s memorable for and memorized by many. It’s a great summary of the good news that in Christ God is reconciling the world to himself. 

But what if someone asked you to quote John 3:17. Could you do it without looking it up? John 3:17 is also a beautiful, comforting, memorable passage filled with good news for you in Jesus. Notice how John beautifully weaves these two memorable passages together.

“For God loved the world in this way, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

These two verses contain more goodness than a mega-stuffed Oreo. Listen to all the things God is doing in these two verses. God the Father loves. God the Father gave His Son. Jesus, the Son of God in human flesh saves from death. God gives eternal life. God the Father sends His Son. God the Father saves you through His Son. But did you notice the one thing God does not do in these two passages? God does not condemn you. In Jesus, you are saved from condemnation.

Old buildings are condemned. People guilty of crimes are condemned to their sentence. But not you. In Jesus you are not condemned. To be sure, because of our sin we deserved condemnation. But because the Father loves you, because the Father gave and sent Jesus, because the Father desired to save you and give you eternal life, Jesus was condemned on the cross in your place  and you were set free. Jesus died in our place to win eternal life for you. Jesus is sent into the world, not to condemn the world, or you, but to save you in His compassion, His crucifixion, and His glorious resurrection from the dead. So, the next time you feel weighed down by guilt, shame, sin, or death, remember this good news in John 3:17. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, because of Your tender love toward us sinners You have given us Your Son that, believing in Him, we might have everlasting life. Continue to grant us Your Holy Spirit that we may remain steadfast in this faith to the end and finally come to life everlasting; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

-Pastor Samuel Schuldheisz is Pastor at Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church in Milton, WA

Audio Reflections Speaker: Jonathan Lackey is an LCMS seminarian.

Study Christ’s words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.