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John 3:16-26 (The Message)

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16 "This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. 17 God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. 18 Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person's failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him. 19 "This is the crisis we're in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness. They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God. 20 Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won't come near it, fearing a painful exposure. 21 But anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes God-light so the work can be seen for the God-work it is." 22 After this conversation, Jesus went on with his disciples into the Judean countryside and relaxed with them there. He was also baptizing. 23 At the same time, John was baptizing over at Aenon near Salim, where water was abundant. 24 This was before John was thrown into jail. 25 John's disciples got into an argument with the establishment Jews over the nature of baptism. 26 They came to John and said, "Rabbi, you know the one who was with you on the other side of the Jordan? The one you authorized with your witness? Well, he's now competing with us. He's baptizing, too, and everyone's going to him instead of us."
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