Yesterday I discovered that cockroaches seem to break in half quite easily. This was not something that was high on my list of things I wanted to know. I’m still not certain whether this is a common occurrence or just yesterday’s phenomenon. My theory of “break in half cockroaches” will no doubt be confirmed one way or the other before the week is out. Sometimes circumstances leave you knowing something you may not have wished to know in the first place. Many of us have had times in our lives when we would have wished to not know something. You will have heard the common saying, ‘knowledge is power’. Perhaps we assume that’s a good kind of power, but that isn’t always the case.
Some of you will now know more than you wanted to about your blood, after a diagnosis of diabetes. Others of you will know more than you ever dreamt would be necessary after a prostate or cervical cancer diagnosis. Some of you will know the heart breaking feeling that you would have never believed possible after a relationship betrayal.
Knowledge is a powerful tool as we scour the internet and become “experts” overnight in the condition we are suffering with. Having said all that, I wonder sometimes if we would be better off with a little less knowledge. Before you hold up your hand in horror at such a “un 21st century like” comment, please hear me out!
John 3 verse 16. When I say that verse do you yawn, mentally move on, roll your eyes – literally or figuratively, or do you feel the warmth of God’s love spoken so plainly in those words? It is the most quoted bible verse on the planet, and for good reason. It’s the gospel in a nutshell.
“God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die.” (CEV)
There is a real danger that we can so often hear the wonderful news about Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Man, that we become immune to its personal power in our lives and the old adage that “familiarity breeds contempt” starts to ring true!
When Jesus said that God loved the world so much, he wasn’t just talking about the great population mass of the world, but he was actually talking about you, specifically you, little old you. God loved you so much that he sent Jesus. And we hear it over and over again and it becomes old news far too quickly and not the good news it really is.
I think the ironic thing about these verses in John is that Jesus was speaking to Nicodemus, the Pharisee, from the group of the religious elite, those schooled in the Torah. I often despise the Pharisees when I read about them. They were the ones who convicted Jesus. They were the ones who ignored the gift from God. They were the ones who knew the text, but not the man. Isn’t it often the way? We despise in others what we ignore in ourselves. I find that uncomfortably true.
Do you think the Pharisees read so often of the prophesied Messiah that when they came face to face with him, they were desensitised to the one they were searching for?
Have we so often read the truth of God’s astounding love for us, that we are desensitised to the reality of it in our lives.
God loves you. He sent Jesus. Jesus chose to die and I don’t mean some hygienic, sanitised sort of death. I’m talking powerful, foreknown, painful to the point of excruciating sort of death. For you! For me! We cannot allow ourselves to be desensitised to the power of this knowledge. We need to feel it, because Jesus did and knew he would from the beginning and did it anyway.
Join me in repentance.