Wednesday, April 26, 2017
For God So Loves Us All
“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. John 3:16 (NRSV)
I have written in the past about John 3:16, the verse found in an exchange between Jesus and a religious leader named Nicodemus who sought Jesus out in the quiet of the evening for what became a baffling and profound conversation about birth and rebirth, the unpredictable wind of the Spirit, and the nature of God's love.
This verse has been stuck onto bumpers, banned from sports venues, quoted and misquoted. It may be the best known verse of the New Testament. Recently it showed up in an sad and unsettling manner, on the forehead of a dead man.
Former National Football League star Aaron Hernandez died in his prison cell in Massachusetts recently, where he was serving a life sentence for the murder of a former friend. He had been acquitted of two other murders days before his death because of lack of evidence. Hernandez was an exceptional tight end who seemed quiet off the field, but a rough and violent early life appears to have continued into adulthood.
When Hernandez's body was found there were suicide notes and a bible near his body. On his forehead he had written the bible reference, no doubt aware that many would be familiar with it.
At the time Hernandez was convicted I shook my head at the callous nature of his violent act. I felt sadness, though, when I heard that he had died in this way. It is a reminder that beneath the horrendous acts which some people perpetrate there is a human being created by God and loved by God, who became present to us, in Jesus, our Saviour and Friend.