God so loved the world…
Each of us and all we see and enjoy in this world is a gift from the Creator God. Sadly we do not always recognise our lives as God’s gift and live our lives without reference to the Giver.
Our world is not as it should be – people suffer illness, injury and death. We chase wealth, success, fame and even love and remain dissatisfied. Our mistreatment of one another is catalogued in our newspapers each day and we long for a better world. The evil we see in our world is a symptom of a greater evil – our rebellion against the Almighty God.
But God’s response to our ignorance, confusion and even evil is compassion and mercy. He does not treat us as our sins deserve, but instead comes to get involved in our mess and sort things out.
God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son…
In the person of Jesus God entered our world, not as a great king or famous celebrity, but as a carpenter born in homeless squalour. He lived a human life and experienced human weakness, suffering and struggle. But unlike each one of us He never strayed from the right path, He never rebelled against God or caused another person pain. He was not self-serving, but came to give His life for us.
Jesus performed many miracles and astonished the crowds with his teaching, but is most remembered for His death. On the cross Jesus took our sin upon himself and suffered the punishment that we have earned. This perfect man accepted our guilt and died our death.
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.
In Jesus we find the solution to our most basic problem and the key to life. On the third day after his most brutal crucifixion, Jesus rose from the dead. He was seen by hundreds of people over the coming weeks and comforted those who had deserted him.
Jesus ascended to Heaven, promising to return one day and gather his people into a recreated world – Heaven and Earth become one, where we will experience the joy of life with God, unspoilt by sin and suffering, peace and joy forever.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him
God has a plan for this world – not destruction, but salvation. Jesus came to save the world and has now sent the Holy Spirit as both a foretaste and the means by which he will bring about this future.
This is the age of the Holy Spirit, who works through Christ’s Church to save souls, change lives and bring in the kingdom of God. Through the Holy Spirit we see glimpses today of God’s Kingdom, which was seen in Jesus and will one day cover the whole world. A kingdom in which sin is forgiven, sickness is healed and we can know God.
We long for that Kingdom reality, pray for it and seek it as God works among us.
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.”
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