Saturday, March 15, 2014

Lent 2

Lent 2
John 3:16
In Lent, we begin to see the cross in the distance. We learn of its healing power. It speaks the story of salvation by grace.

As Moses raised a bronze serpent, Jesus must be raised up on a cross. The upraised serpent in the desert brought healing through the forgiving love of God. This took place simply by looking to the upraised serpent.

The cross brings eternal life to those who look to the cross with the eyes of faith. The way of the cross calls for faith in Christ who hangs upon the cross. He offers healing power through life.

Look and know that God loves you –

Look beyond the cross – the source of God’s love – “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. John 3:16

The Father offered up His only Son although it was done through the sinful acts of others.

The 30 pieces of silver Judas received is quite a cheap price for the Father’s only Son. Equal to 120 days work – That’s 24 weeks - About ½ a year’s pay.

The cash spent to betray Jesus was recognized as “blood money”.
It was currency, which had been compromised. So it couldn’t be placed back into the treasury.      

It was the price of betrayal
At what price would you sell out a friend?

Examples today…taking a life over a pair of shoes may be an extreme act of violence. Yet at what price are some willing to push a co-worker “under the bus” to advance their own career? Or, betray her secret to win another’s attention or admiration? Refusing to help because you didn’t want to get your hands dirty? Could you be charged with similar crimes against humanity?

Sin simply causes life to be cheapened. And our integrity compromised.

The purpose of the Father offering up His Son was the reconciliation of the world. Sin only cheapens life – Christ restores it to its original value. You have worth – real worth not based on what you see or value in yourself. But on what the Father determines to be of real worth.

Transition: We look to the one on the cross to see the source of the Father’s love. Look to the one on the cross who is giving you this worth!

Look to the One on the crossJust as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, John 3:14

Sin produces nothing but sickness, and pain and death. Israel rebelled only to have deadly snakes devour the people. Where could they go? What could they do? They were trapped – only the Great Physician could heal them. By placing a serpent on a pole and lifting it up the people were drawn to it for restoration and life.

Likewise, Jesus was lifted up on a cross. The cross was the supreme exaltation of Jesus – in being lifted up Christ draws all sorts of people to Himself - without any regard for nationality, ethnic affiliation or status.   

Transition: We look to the one on the cross to see the source of God’s love. We look to the one on the cross who is giving you this worth. We look at the cross where there is a sacrifice of life for you!

Look at the cross –a sacrifice for you – that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. John 3:15

The sacrifice of Christ on a cross was a sacrifice for a purpose that people might believe in Him. John will use the word “believe” 98 times in his gospel. John’s purpose was that his readers might believe and continue to believe in Christ and Him alone.
People are not to believe in John the Baptist or their preacher or anyone else. To this day people are called to believe in Christ through the testimony and the message of the cross.

The purpose of such believing is to have eternal life. This life, which Jesus offers, is an infinitely high quality of life in living fellowship with God both now and forever. It is a life, which has no end. It is an abundant life – a life with purpose, and power.

Conclusion: The story is told that when Thomas Aquinas returned form worshiping at the foot of the cross, he said, “That which I have seen today makes all that I have written seem as trash! I shall not write another word!”
Salvation comes simply in a look – a look at the cross and a look in faith. Certainly, the way of the cross calls for faith in Christ who hangs upon the cross. It is the power of new life.

+ Soli Deo Gloria +

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