Late Night with Jesus: Why Would He Give His Son?

“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.” (John 3:16)

As the proud dad of a son, I cannot imagine any amount of love that would compel me to trade his life for, well, anyone’s. My instinct is to protect him from any bad guys, from anyone that might hurt him.

latenight_350God’s enormous love compelled him to do exactly the opposite; he traded Jesus’ life for the lives of all of us bad guys: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

I don’t get it, honestly. But I love my Father for sending his Son to let me be his son, too. My belief in Jesus was all he required to sign the adoption papers to change me from sinner to son, to save me from eternal death and give me the eternal life I could never earn.

Think: Have you ever wondered why God acted first to save us while we were still against him? Would we ever have been able to reach him if he had not acted to save us?

Pray: Thank your Father for the gift of his son Jesus and the gift of eternal life through believing in him.

Do: Pray the prayer above later today again.

Late Night with Jesus: Not Condemn

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” (John 3:17-18)

Some people get so mad at Jesus and/or those of us who believe in him and say so. How dare he exclude anyone from getting into heaven, from spending eternity with God? How could his followers be so narrow-minded and exclusive?

latenight_350But it’s all upside down. Jesus didn’t come to say, “You’re out!” He came to say, “Come in!” He came to make the invitation, not to block the door. All are welcome to believe in him and escape being condemned. That is an inclusive invitation.

Instead, though, Jesus says, people condemn themselves by refusing to believe in him, to believe in his name, to believe in Jesus. He is the one being excluded, not those who refuse the offer of eternal life.

Think: Are you sometimes tempted to think that Christianity is too narrow and exclusive? How is that view different from what Jesus is saying here?

Pray: Thank God for making eternal life available to all who believe in Jesus.

Do: Think of 2-3 people you know who don’t believe in Jesus as their savior. Write their names down on a quick list to remind you to pray for them every day this week.

Late Night with Jesus: Want Light?

“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.” (John 3:19)

It’s an old argument: Are we as human beings basically good people who sometimes do bad things—or evil people who just do what comes naturally to us? Another way to ask the question: If God himself showed up with a giant neon sign pointing to what the good choice was, would we still do evil?

latenight_350Jesus’ verdict was that we love darkness. It’s not just a hobby; it’s who we are. It’s not just that we don’t understand right from wrong or that we grew up in a rough neighborhood called Earth, it’s that we are sinners who don’t want to be caught. We don’t want to stop.

That’s why we need a rebirth in the Spirit. Jesus said next: “But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” Believers in Jesus repent, and he begins to do good through us.

Think: Do you tend to think of humans as basically good or naturally evil? How does your answer to that big question change your view of our need for salvation?

Pray: Thank God that through faith in Jesus, he can use his huge power to do good through you.

Do: Listen for reflections of this debate in your world over the next few weeks. Who claims that we humans are naturally good? Who claims that we are not?