Sunday, March 22, 2009

Lent 4 John 3:14-16

God of all mercy, by Your prayer to heal and to forgive, graciously cleanse us from all sin and makes us strong.

As we look at the cross we find God’s love in what we see. In Moses’ day, healing resulted form just looking at the bronze serpent. In like manner, a look at the uplifted Christ brings peace with God through healing love. This point is sounded in so many hymns of the church. “O Sacred head, now wounded” “When I survey the wondrous cross” “Drawn to the cross which Thy hast blessed” It is said that when Thomas Aquinas returned from worshiping at the foot of the cross he said, “That which I have seen today makes all that I have written seem like trash. I shall not write another word!”

Look and know God loves you.

1. Look at the One on the cross – Vs. 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, God our heavenly Father sent His Son to be lifted up.

A. We by nature are like the children of Israel in their danger.
1. We aren’t plagued by snakes, of course.
2. But we are plagued by sin, which causes death.

B. God sent Jesus.
1. He came into the middle of our world, the snake pit, if you would.
2. God lifted Him up on a cross, “With His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5)
3. John 3:16 captures God’s plan. He loved us so much that He sent His Son to be
lifted up for us.

2. Look at the cross – a sacrifice for you – Vs. 15that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. He gives everlasting life. He gives everlasting life to believers.

A. In the Old Testament wilderness, anyone who looked at the brass serpent was saved.
1. They were given the invitation to be saved. No one forced them to look.
2. Those who did look were saved from the fiery venom.

B. Likewise, Jesus promises that those who believe in Him have everlasting life.
1. This is a gracious invitation to know who Jesus is, give assent to His grace, and trust
Him to do what He promises. No strings attached.
2. Believers have life now. It was as close as Nicodemus as the information and
invitation Jesus gave to him. Believers have in their hearts right now the assurance
that they are saved. God loves us so much that He gives us eternal life.

3. Look beyond the cross…the source of God’s love. Vs. 16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. He draws people to believe in Jesus.

A. People are drawn to Jesus through Jesus.
1. He came as a light to people in darkness. People are by nature in the dark; there is no
self-created light. Jesus gives light to people who love the darkness because they
were doing wrong.
2. Believers are a lot life bugs who gather around the porch light at night during the
summer. We have seen the Light of Jesus Christ and have been drawn to it.
When we saw Jesus, He revealed our sins and forgave the, and now in His light God
sees us as righteous.
3. God did not send Jesus into the world so that people would be ashamed, scared, and
guilty. Rather, He came so that we might have life through Him.

B. You can tell if God’s love is drawing you.
1. How do you feel when you read: “Everyone who does evil hates the light and
does not come to the light” (v.20)? Do you feel a need to stop doing what is wrong, to
let God straighten it up for you? That’s God’s love drawing you.
2. When you read: “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever
believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (v.16), do you get a feeling of
relief down deep in your soul? That’s God’s great love drawing you.
3. Let it draw you. Don’t be like night crawlers or worms that come out at night after a
rain. When the light hits them, they zip back down into the darkness, or die on the

God does not want to harm you; He wants to save you. He has sent His Son so that by faith in Him we can now live.

God has moved to save us from the predicament of sin. We want to listen to Jesus today, and let His love draw us to salvation and a God-pleasing life. This happens by God’s amazing grace.

Lectionary Preaching Resources Series B © 1987 Concordia Publishing House
Schnorr von Carolsfeld, woodcuts © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use.

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