It also contains one of the best loved and well-known verses in Sacred Scripture: 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.”
We are very fortunate that the details of this important conversation were recorded for us. Can you imagine how different our understanding of Jesus and His mission would be without them?
Nicodemus is a member of the Pharisees, a movement within Judaism that tried to live out God’s law as perfectly as possible; and Nicodemus was respected and influential which meant that if he didn’t have the official status of elder he certainly had the unofficial status. In him we see someone seriously trying to please God in everything, and who had a much greater knowledge of scripture and the law than most people of his time.
To Nicodemus Jesus can talk and entrust knowledge succinctly, and in many layers, because He knows this fine mind will retain this teaching/knowledge and mull over it and wrestle with it from many different angles, through many and varied conversations, and over many years until true understanding comes.
So what does Jesus entrust Nicodemus with?
Firstly with an understanding of the depth of the agape love of God, and secondly with the eternal ramifications of our responses to that agape love of God, among other things.
To give one’s only son is a sacrifice few can comprehend, and even fewer can make. Many see the life of their only son as more precious than their own, because the whole future of their family rests on him. Without a child to assist, provide for, dream for, aspire to make the world a better place for, life loses almost all of its purpose and motivation.
God’s commitment of covenant love for us is so great, that even as He tells Nicodemus this, He has already begun the process to sacrifice His Son for each one of us. This is incomprehensible love verging on outright lunacy in its extravagance and costliness.
The only appropriate response to this covenant love of such unimaginable magnitude is to accept such a gift of salvation with gratitude and to commit our lives in covenant love to this only begotten Son of God.
One of the eye-openers of this passage of scripture is that there is no in-between. Either we respond with agape love to God and dwell in His light, or we respond with agape love to evil and dwell in darkness.
There is no middle ground.
On the choice of where we give our agape love is what hangs our eternal future.
The sad and bad news is that more of us choose evil and darkness over God and light.
The good news is that we still have an opportunity to choose God and light, but it has to be a total agape love response. It can’t be anything less.
We were made to give ourselves in agape love.
What we have chosen to love with agape love will be given us eternally.