FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2016
MERCY AND THE CROSS
April 6, 2016
Today’s gospel: John 3:16-21
Today we encounter one of the most important verses in the Bible. It is John 3:16. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” This is all about the abounding mercy of God. The icon of mercy is Christ crucified.
While the world deserves condemnation, God took on and paid the price for our transgressions. “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.” (v.17). Is that not what a definition of mercy is? Mercy is not exacting the just punishment for sin. But God did more than that. He actually exacted justice, but had His Son pay the price!
God’s mercy is for all. Jesus died on the cross to save all. His mercy is given even when we do not deserve it, even when we do not ask for it, even when we are unaware that it is there being done for us. But that does not mean we do not have to respond. Mercy is an invitation to repentance and turning to faith in Jesus. If we do not respond accordingly, then we will not experience the effects of God’s mercy, and even as Jesus has already paid the price for our sins, we would remain under condemnation. “Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” (v.18).
This is the great tragedy. We sinned, Jesus paid the price, we are saved. But most of those for whom Jesus gave his life have not accepted him as their Savior and Lord. They prefer the darkness of sin. “And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil.” (v.19).
Look at the cross. See Jesus crucified. You are gazing on the mercy of God.
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