Something important I've learned:
It is not our place to be the judge of the world. Even Jesus came not to condemn but to save.
The verse I liked best:
Although John 3:16 is probably the most memorized verse in the Bible, I think that I like verse 17 better. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
A question to consider:
If Jesus said that He didn't come to condemn, and that we are to love our neighbor and that we will be judged by the standard that we use to judge others; why do we use judgment and condemnation as a motivator to turn people to God instead of love? Is the fear of darkness a greater motivator that simply shining the Light?
A few other things that I noticed:
Nicodemus came to Jesus in secret. We still do this today. We are still more worried about how people will perceive us that we are about how God sees us.
Also, I really like the picture that we see when we look to the Old Testament story of Moses and the snake. The story is found in Numbers 21:4-9.
The Bronze SnakeThey traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea, to go around Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way; they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the desert? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!"
Then the LORD sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. The people came to Moses and said, "We sinned when we spoke against the LORD and against you. Pray that the LORD will take the snakes away from us." So Moses prayed for the people.
The LORD said to Moses, "Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live." So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived.
I wonder how many Israelites thought that it was stupid to look at the snake to be saved from death? The act of looking at the snake wasn't what saved them. It was the act of obedience; trusting that God would save them if they would follow His commands. The cross gives us the same choice. The difference is that the Israelites knew when they had been bitten. They knew what they were in for and they knew that they needed to be saved. We, on the other hand, can be quite comfortable in living a life apart from God. We can easily convince ourselves that we have no need for a Savior and we don't need to look to the cross.
I think that there may be a sermon in there!