Everyone who believes: a reflection

thepathofhopeA Reflection from Gail O’Day [554-56]

In interpreting John 3:1–21, then, it is not enough to say on the basis of the discourse in vv. 11–21, for example, that this text is about faith, decision, and judgment, because that way of interpreting diminishes the full impact of the text. One needs the preceding dialogue, with Nicodemus’s misunderstanding and Jesus’ repeated offer of new images, to understand what the words of vv. 11–21 are really saying. The interpreter must attend to how John tells this story of Jesus and Nicodemus, how he moves the reader through the give and take between the two characters and thus affords the reader the chance to understand what Nicodemus can only misunderstand. Because the reader has participated in the dialogue between Jesus and Nicodemus, the words in vv. 11–21 are heard with more immediacy. Moreover, the reader has read the Prologue and attended to the witness of John, so that he or she has a wider theological context in which to place those words. Continue reading