12 March 2017
Collects for Lent 2: O God, You see that of ourselves we have no strength. By Your mighty power defend us from all adversities that may happen to the body and from all evil thoughts that may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and rules with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
The Father loves you.
1. He sent His Son to be lifted up.
A. By nature, we are like the children of Israel in great danger.
B. n love, the Father sent Jesus.
2. He gives everlasting life to believers.
A. In the Old Testament wilderness, anyone who looked at the brass serpent was saved.
B. Likewise, Jesus promises that those who believe in Him have everlasting life.
3. He draws people to believe in Jesus.
A. People are drawn to Jesus through the preaching of the cross!
B. You can tell if God’s love is drawing you
Points to Ponder
The name Nicodemus literally means “conqueror of the people." Small wonder he rose to the ranks of the party of the Pharisees. Nicodemus could function well in the Kingdom of the Pharisees and the Kingdom of the Romans and with the power, prestige, and privilege of the Jerusalem politicians.
After all, he was a member of the ruling council, the Sanhedrin. But, the Kingdom of God needed another kind of life orientation. To even see the Kingdom of God, Nicodemus would have to start again from the beginning. This must be why Nicodemus found it so difficult to understand Jesus.
Nicodemus, the conqueror of nations, a member of the party of the Pharisees, was not empowered nor informed enough to understand the mysteries of Jesus’ way of deliverance. It would take mercy, grace and the Savior’s concern to accomplish all this.
As you journey through Lent, which ways can you demonstrate the compassion of Christ, which speak to your neighbor’s needs, hurts and desires?
What does it mean for us to live knowing we are God's beloved children, adopted and chosen and named co-heirs with Christ?
The logic of John is NOT, “If you believe, then God will love you and save you.” God's salvation is not a reward for belief. Nor does God withhold God's love, forgiveness and salvation until we believe. What do you make of this statement?
Do we really think that we could have understood Jesus any better than Nicodemus, a well-versed, well-educated Pharisee? If SO, what makes you think so?
Image: Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS for private and congregational use