John 3:9-21: Darkness to light.
“9 ‘How can this be?’ Nicodemus asked.10 ‘You are Israel’s teacher,’ said Jesus, ‘and do you not understand these things?11 Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven – the Son of Man.14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.’16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.” NIV
‘This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil’ (19).
There are people in the world who, although yet in darkness, like Nicodemus (9 – 12) they are making honest movement toward the Light (20, 21). They are prepared for the exposure the Light brings, and at some point (probably soon) they will be willing to repent of their wickedness and trust in Christ’s sacrifice on their behalf.
But the natural state of man is anti-God/anti-Christ (19).The natural person hates God. It is a sin against love (16), we know, but there it is. He/she rejects Christ, and therefore they are in condemnation (17). Such a person will never turn from darkness to Light without a regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. They ‘must’ be born again (7). Thank God that, by His Sovereign grace, such a miracle is possible. Think about Saul of Tarsus for example (Acts 9). A man or a woman, a boy or a girl, can ‘believe in’ Jesus (16) and receive this gift of ‘eternal life’ (16). This faith in Christ crucified brings a person ‘out of darkness’ and into ‘marvellous light’ (1 Peter 2:9).
It seems to me that there are two important ‘must’s’ in John 3 – two compelling necessities:
- The necessity of the new birth (7);
- The necessity of the cross (14).
These two necessities are linked, and through the life-giving work of the Spirit we are enabled to trust in Christ for our salvation.
I heard a preacher say something like this: ‘We talk about wearing the heart on the sleeve; God wore His heart on a cross.’
W.E. Songster said in a sermon that God knows ‘the pain of unrequited love.’ He ‘so’ loves even those who hate Him.
‘My Lord, what love is this…?