As I work towards Easter I’ve been preaching through John’s gospel and have just preached through the resurrection story, so this year I will preach two Easter messages.
Every Sunday represents Easter for the Christian worshipping communities around the world. With that thought in mind, my intent as I write for the weeks leading up to Easter, will be to write based on the Lectionary readings for the upcoming week unless an over arching current event grips my attention.
The gospel reading for this coming week is John 3:14-21: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
“For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
The reference to Moses is from the story in Numbers 21, where the serpents came out of the wilderness and attacked the nation of Israel because of their lack of faith in God to take care of them in their journey. God told Moses to make a bronze serpent and wind it around a pole and lift it up so all could see. When they looked at this serpent that was lifted up they were healed from the poison bite they received.
In modern times, we recognize the symbol of doctors and health care workers as the serpent wrapped around a pole. Interesting that something considered so deadly is the symbol of life. John says to us as Christian people, it is by looking to the Cross of Jesus that we are healed from the curse of sin. I wish I had time and space to share from the conversations I have had on the affects of life in the lives of so many.
People burdened by the things they know they have done that seem wrong and that have created some serious challenges for them as they journey through this life. Things they have done that have caused heartache and grief both in their own lives and the lives of people they care about.
Even if I had space, I’d not share the stories, those are not mine to tell. Thankfully some end in places of healing and wellbeing and encourage me in my life. I really enjoy those stories that have a theme wrapped in messages similar to the words of Jesus.
Rev. Jon Bergen,
Brechin Baptist Fellowship