John 3:14-17 NRSVue
14And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.,
16“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.
17“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world but in order that the world might be saved through him.
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Some thoughts on this scripture
Jesus says these words to Nicodemus, a Pharisee who came to him at night, searching for answers. His message is not condemnation, but God's love and a promise of eternal life. What does all of this mean to me?
The cross, a sign of shame is also a sign of hope. Many prayers and hymns ask that the cross support us in our bad times, like the verse from the famous hymn Abide with me, 'Hold thou thy cross before my closing eyes, shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.' The cross has been for many people at times of darkness in their lives a sign that Jesus Christ has shared the worst of life. The figure on the cross in the early church was usually the risen Jesus. Sometimes he was clothed in the garments of a priest. This is something of the origin of the feast of the triumph of the cross: it is the sign that love triumphed over hatred, that the compassion of God was so strong that Jesus forgave all who harmed him, and the Roman at the foot of the Cross said, 'Indeed this was the son of God.'
For people in Jesus' time the cross was the ultimate sign of humiliation; thousands ended their lives by dying on the cross. Thousands of Jesus' own countrymen were crucified. For all who knew them it was torture and humiliation. For us now because of Jesus' love and resurrection, it is the great sign of eternal life and love.