Second Sunday in Lent – John 3:1-17
Read the following passages of Scripture:
- The Call of Abram in Genesis 12:1-4a
- Abraham Justified by Faith in Romans 4:1-5, 13-17
- You Must Be Born Again in John 3:1-17 and also
- The Bronze Serpent in Numbers 21:4-9.
These readings for today are like flashing neon signs that read, "You all need help (and that includes your pastor!) - and even though you're not the good people you claim to be sometimes - here I am to help you because I love you!"
We all have deep needs. If we strip away the petty problems and the superficial issues that bring you stress - the bad drivers and the recurring home repairs, the computer that's crashed again and even financial stuff that can be annoying. I'm asking you to think about the big issues in your life... like death, like your relationship with the God who will one day serve as your eternal Judge, like making it through this evil world with your faith still in tact, like giving your children or loved ones a lasting legacy that is more important and valuable than money.
Where does help like that come from?
For the Israelites' in the wilderness it came from a bronze snake on a pole - which if I'm honest I find quite a strange event! Even though they were whining endlessly and ungrateful - God, who sent the snakes, also sent the help! He sent help to deeply flawed people. And he did it on account of His burning and holy love.
Jesus answered, "Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit."
God looks at you today, not you by worldly definitions, but the person He created you to be. And He loves you with a love beyond human reason put into action in sending Jesus to die for you - to be lifted up high on the cross that you might look to Him in all things and live. Being born into the Kingdom of God is about real life, a full life. It's about living in your baptismal faith and daily looking up to where your help comes from - to Jesus - lifted up so you can live and walk in His love every day of your life. Amen!
- Download and read the whole sermon as a pdf here