Hey friends, this has been an exciting week at Cornerstone and I am even more excited to tell you about some new and exciting things… but not yet! I will talk about one of those things this Sunday during worship but the rest will have to wait. Anyhow, today I want to share a bit about the scripture we will be covering this Sunday during worship.
One of the most well know verses of our bible is John 3:16, “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him won’t perish but will have eternal life.” This verse is wonderful, but I believe it comes alive in our in lives when we understand it in its context. Context is often neglected in our study of scripture, but it is very important. What is context? I would like to suggest to you that context is the understanding of scripture with four principles: literal meaning (what it says), historical setting (the events of the story, to whom is it addressed, and how it was understood at that time), grammar (the immediate sentence and paragraph within which a word or phrase is found) and synthesis (comparing it with other parts of Scripture for a fuller meaning).
In the case of John 3:16, we can look at the entirety of John 3 and learn a whole lot more. John 3 starts by introducing a Pharisee named Nicodemus who comes to Jesus seeking to learn more from him. As I was studying this verse most recently I noticed something peculiar. The writer of the Gospel of John mentions that Nicodemus came to Jesus in the night. Why at night? What was so important about him coming at night that it had to be mentioned? Sure, it could have been extraneous detail but the rest of the chapter makes me think it is not. John 3:19-21 says, “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.” The contrasting of light and dark and the fact that Nicodemus came to Jesus at night seems to have a connection here.
Why did Nicodemus come at night? Here are some thoughts I have. 1) He could have come at night because the busy schedule of a Pharisee who sat on the Sanhedrin might have made a nighttime visit the only time possible. 2) Jesus was not well liked by the Pharisees, thus Nicodemus visiting him would seem scandalous, so a nighttime visit would cover this. 3)Maybe there is a deeper meaning that is revealed when the writer of John speaks about how truth comes into the light. Nicodemus, a Pharisee, comes to Jesus from darkness and in darkness seeking truth in the light. Jesus speaks the truth to Nicodemus, but he has a trouble understanding it. Does that mean it is the end of the road for Nicodemus? Absolutely not!
Join us this Sunday at 10:30 AM to hear the rest of story about Nicodemus and why the word “Recovery” is the title of this Sunday’s sermon.
In God’s Grip,
Pastor Chuck Church