Sunday, March 06, 2011

Convo with Pastor - John 3:14-15

Do you know the verses that
lead into the famous John 3:16?
Jesus sites Numbers 21:4-9 ...
Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,
so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that
whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
John 3:14-15
The context for Jesus' assurance that "God so loved the world" is more book of Numbers' "judgment" (or as we defined it yesterday -- more book of Numbers' grace and patience). Let's hear the story again ...
  • "4 The people grew impatient with the long journey," and yet "God so loved the world." 
  • "5 So they began to murmur against God and Moses," and yet "God so loved the world."  
  • "6 They complained, 'Why have you brought us out of Egypt to die here in the wilderness?There is nothing to eat here and nothing to drink. And we hate this wretched manna!" Listen to that! They were saying, "We hate the gracious provision of God." And yet "God [still] loved the world."   
  • "6 So the Lord sent poisonous snakes among them, and many of them were bitten and died" ... but "whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."   
In the verse after John 3:16, Jesus says, "17 God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him." Therefore, when people cried out, "We have sinned," the God of saving (and not of condemnation) said, "8 'Make a replica of a poisonous snake and attach it to the top of a pole. If they simply look at it, those who are bitten will live!' 9 ... and they were healed."
What healed them? Three things ... 
  1. The first was repentance ... from the sickness of sin. 
  2. The second was obedience ... Snakes on poles don't make a lot of sense as a healing tool to me. But obedience is a trustful doing ... even when it doesn't make sense.
  3. The third was faith ... Not faith in a snake-shaped idol of bronze ... not faith in crucifix-shaped idol of wood ... but faith in a living God -- a living God "16who so loved the world that he gave his only Son that whosoever believes in 14[his] Son [who was] lifted up (14just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness) 15may have eternal life.
In Christ's Love,
a guy who still thinks that's a strange story
but chooses to trust and believe anyway
I wonder if I would be obedient enough to do something as seemingly senseless as look at a bronze snake on a pole ... especially after getting in trouble for the golden calf. I am pretty stubborn. It baffles me how so much power can be put in small insignificant items.  

Thankfully God loves us, forgives us and uses our mistakes in spite of us.

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Speak gently. carefully. thoughtfully. graciously. humbly.

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