Summary: A sermon for the 2nd Sunday in Lent It is about the cross of Christ
Second Sunday in Lent
"The Giving of the Cross"
"Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do, unless God is with him." Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Nicodemus said to him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?" Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ’You must be born anew.’ The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes; so it is with every one who is born of the Spirit." Nicodemus said to him, "How can this be?" Jesus answered him, "Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand this? Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen; but you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended from heaven, the Son of man. And 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." For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him." John 3:1-17, RSV.
Grace and peace to you from our Lord and Saviour, Jesus who was lifted upon the cross. Amen
Most people who read this scripture lesson focus on the Nicodemus story and the idea of being born again.
This idea of being born again is a difficult concept to understand and for many people it is a lightening rod of whether you are a Christian or not. For some say that you have to be ’born again" to be a true Christian.
Well, this morning we are not going to focus our attention on that part of the text. Since this is the Lenten season, I think the important part of the text for us this morning is this:
"And 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."
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him."
This section of the gospel lesson focus our attention on the action of God for our salvation.
it refers to an Old Testament time when the people we in the wilderness and they began to complain about being lost, having no food, etc. The Lord cast fiery serpents among the people, many died. the people came to Moses and repented of their sin of not trusting Moses and the Lord.
8 And the LORD said to Moses, "Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and every one who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live."
9 So Moses made a bronze serpent, and set it on a pole; and if a serpent bit any man, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.
So Jesus is saying in our gospel lesson that the Son of Man, Jesus will be lifted up and whoever believes in him may have eternal life. This lifting up is placing Jesus on the cross so that you and I may have eternal life.
This act of selflessness by Christ is for our salvation. God sent His son into to the world not to condemn the world, to punish the world, but to save the world.
And that salvation came by the way of a cross.
I saw a banner once which said, "The crib and the Cross both were made of wood," God sent His son into the world through the wood of a crib in a manger and used the wood of a Cross to save the world from sin.