By: Chad Hyatt
John 3.1-17
Reflection—v. 16 ‘God so loved the world that he gave’

Following Jesus is to be overwhelmed by generous love. God’s love is for all, and God doesn’t love some more than others or others less than some. God loves us all— passionately, profoundly, particularly, and without prejudice (other than God’s own powerful predilection for human well-being.) It’s funny how we read ‘God so loved the world that he gave’ and think it means something other than what it says. The obvious emphasis is love so generous that its ultimate expression is the gift of Godself for us, plain and simple. According to John, that love has been giving since the beginning. All of creation is an expression of that love. God takes our flesh and pitches a tent to make a home with us as an expression of that love. We are not wrong, of course, to see the cross within the loving gift of God’s self for us. But we are misguided to think the cross is just a piece in some cosmic chess match we suppose God is playing. The cross is nothing more and nothing less than what love looks like at full measure, unbowed even in the face of death. We were made by and for that same love. John calls the transformation love begets in us being born again. Other gospels call it taking up the cross. To take up the cross is to love like Jesus, no more and no less. Whether we like it or not, loving human beings means being opposed by the powers that lift some up while crushing others. And regardless of their sometimes benevolent rhetoric, those powers will fight back. The cross just means choosing to love people anyway. Just like our God.

Prayer Your love, O God, flows from your heart as the gift of your self, transforming us into love.

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