It goes without saying that people will go to extreme lengths for the sake of love. I’m old enough to remember the Milk Tray adverts – ‘All because the lady loves Milk Tray’. And of course, as a Proclaimers fan, I know that any self-respecting lover would walk 500 miles. And then walk 500 more. All together now – Da de dut da…
Our Gospel reading starts in a rather obscure place – you will have to read Numbers 21 to find out the significance of the snake (though you will see it featured in the logos of many modern-day medical organizations). But at the heart of the reading are the most famous words from John’s Gospel. ‘God loved the world so much…’
Love can never be measured, of course – it is in the nature of what love is. But what we can say is that the love God shows in Jesus goes further than any other kind of love – and that is really saying something.
14 As Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the desert, in the same way the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. 16 For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to be its judge, but to be its saviour.
18 Those who believe in the Son are not judged; but those who do not believe have already been judged, because they have not believed in God’s only Son. 19 This is how the judgement works: the light has come into the world, but people love the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds are evil. 20 All those who do evil things hate the light and will not come to the light, because they do not want their evil deeds to be shown up. 21 But those who do what is true come to the light in order that the light may show that what they did was in obedience to God.