I brought a couple of my old report cards from school to show you today. This one is from when I was in grade 9. It shows that my subjects were French, Math, Gym, and Science. It is from part-way through the semester, so we can see how my marks have changed. 99% went down to 94%; 83 went down to 81; 80% went up to 86%; and 91 went up to 94. You can see that my marks go up and down.
There is also a place for teachers to make comments about things like effort, organisation, and teamwork. Sometimes there is a note reminding me to do my homework regularly.
Report cards are a good way for teachers to grade us and compare us to others in the class. There is a column here that shows the average for the whole class. There are other ways that we are graded and compared in our lives: getting picked for a dance team, winning a curling tournament, even getting chosen for a kickball game at recess. Parents and coaches and friends and teachers all make these judgements.
I thought about all of that while I was reading part of today’s scriptures: God loves the world so much that God sent God’s only son. Jesus did not come to judge the world but to save it!
We hear about Jesus being a teacher throughout his life. But Jesus was not a teacher like the ones we have in school. He would not give us all a report card comparing us to others and telling us that we are no good at team sports or multiplication facts or whatever. If I got a report card from Jesus, it would probably look more like this. [I showed another report card with all the grades and improvement suggestions covered with heart-shaped stickers.]
Jesus did not come to the world to judge and grade and compare us. Jesus came to love us. He came to teach us to love each other, to love ourselves and to love God.