Our scripture this morning is ‭‭John‬ ‭3‬:‭17‬-‭19.

Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.

Most of us are very familiar with the verse that proceeds this passage. It is the basis of our hope in Jesus. The verses that follow here are equally important, telling us that we have a responsibility to believe in Him, giving up the darkness of the world for the light of His love.

In the larger text of John 3:1-19 we find a righteous Pharisee, Nicodemus, coming to ask questions of Jesus. He is seeking answers in the same way we do, but He is in a precarious position. As a Pharisee and a member of the ruling council, merely being seen with Jesus could lead to severe consequences.

We’d like to think that we would have been braver, more willing to stand up for our faith and our savior. That’s a nice thought, much like the bold statements of the disciples, most of whom scattered in fear after Jesus was betrayed and arrested. Many are not even willing to risk statements on social media for fear of rejection, much less pain or death. We need to understand the need to believe in secret, as is the case with many places in our world even today, and support those in that situation. Jesus doesn’t call everyone to be a martyr, but He does call us all to believe in Him.

Heavenly Father, help us to be faithful followers, no matter what circumstances we face. We lift those whose faith endangers them to You, protect and strengthen them, Lord. Amen.

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