In the Gospel for this Sunday, we hear Jesus speaking to a man named Nicodemus. Nicodemus seems to have a question deep in his heart: "Who are you, God?" Nicodemus knows Jesus, but he wants to know more.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”
Jesus begins with God. God loves the world—the mountains, the oceans, the lakes and rivers, the deserts, the fields. God loves the trees, the plants, the weeds and the flowers, the dust, the sand, and the soil. God loves the animals—those with four legs, six legs, eight legs, no legs, and wings. God loves the people—the families, the friends, the lost, the lonely, the old, and the young. God loves.
Because God loves, God sends Jesus. We know something that Nicodemus wants to know. Jesus is the Good Shepherd who says,
I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly
Abundant life. Life to the full. Life stronger than death. Eternal life.
We know, too, that if one sheep is lost, the Good Shepherd will,
go after the one that is lost until he finds it
This is what Jesus tells Nicodemus. God does not want to lose anyone, so the Father sends down the Son.
What does the Good Shepherd do when he finds that sheep?
he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices
Who is it that gathers us up onto the shoulders of Jesus, into the love of God, and fills us with joy?
And so we pray,
In the name of the Father,
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit.