Last Sunday’s Gospel verse from John featured the iconic sentence “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life,” whose numerical reference (3:16) was a fixture of signs held at sporting events, back when people attended such things.
But while that passage is significant, we can not overlook the equally, if not more significant one that follows: “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (3:17) It is not a mistake that this passage made its way into our wi-fi password, because stressing the issue of what is the judgement of God for the world is the heart of the Gospel. It is not the case that God is observing our actions to see what actions God will take. God has already judged us and chosen love and life through the salvation of Jesus Christ. A core theme of the Gospel of John is the question of what our response will be, our own judgment of that knowledge, that truth. Indeed, the evangelist writes, the people at the time of Jesus’ incarnation did not recognize the good news, but instead rejected it. How will we, who are reading those words in the post-Easter community, respond as well?