John 3:16 is possibly the most well known verse in the entire Bible, and one which is quoted and used so often, however, it is possibly not part of Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus. Scholars believe that it is more likely John providing a commentary on his words. Nevertheless, it is much loved because of all the truth that is encompassed in so few words. However, it does need to be seen within the context that we have it, rather than reading it in isolation.
Read John 3:14-21 and Numbers 21:4-9
- When the Israelites got impatient with God, especially in difficult times, they turned to other gods to see if they might help. Is this something we are guilty of at times too?
- When things go wrong in our lives who do you blame? Is there a temptation to attribute a measure of blame to God for not sorting it out?
- What do we understand by the reference to the serpent being lifted up in the manner described in these verses and is it confusing to us?
- What do we understand by the phrase Born Again. Is it helpful? Is it misused?
- Does the reading together of John 3:16-17 change the way that you understand Jesus’ ultimate purpose?
The Good News of the Gospels is that Jesus came that people might see the Light of God shining through the darkness, and believe. That is the overriding message from Jesus in his final words to Nicodemus and from John as he emphasizes the saving nature of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.