Daily Reflection

From a Creighton Student's Perspective

June 19, 2011

Justin McCarthy

Junior, Medical Anthropology Major

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
Ex 34:4b-6, 8-9
Dn 3:52, 53, 54, 55, 56
2 Cor 13:11-13
Jn 3:16-18

John 3:1-21 is Jesus’s dialogue with Nicodemus, a Pharisee who was most likely a member of the Jewish council, the Sanhedrin. Prior to the Gospel passage Jesus says to Nicodemus, “if I tell you about earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things?” (6:12). Jesus then starts referencing Numbers 21:9 in which Moses sticks a serpent on the end of a stick so that the Israelites who themselves had been bitten by serpents could look upon it and live. Jesus says that just as Moses “lifted up” the serpent, “so must the Son of Man be lifted up” (6:14). Jesus is paralleling himself to the Old Testament, claiming that by having the Son of Man crucified he will save man from himself and his sin. It is after this that we see the first reference to eternal life in John.
But Jesus gets more explicit doesn’t he? In the Gospel, the words 'gave' and 'condemn' have a dual meaning. God “gave” Jesus as a gift so that we may have eternal life through his incarnation and crucifixion but he also “gave” Jesus over to death and to suffering. Likewise, the word 'condemn' also has duality. In one sense it means condemnation while in another it means judgment. The passage says that Jesus didn't come to condemn, to judge, but to save the world; and this is important because while Jesus does expose people’s flaws the aim is at correction not condemnation. This realization contributes to my image of a benevolent God.

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