Saturday, 11 March 2017

Lift Love and Live it.

Many of us can recall the name of a good teacher who provided us with solid foundations in this or that school subject. But can we recall the name of a person who was a good teacher in the subject of life? In this week’s scripture readings we meet Nicodemus. Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish Council and a known Pharisee, pays a night visit to Jesus and states, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God, for no one could do these miraculous signs unless God is with him.”

He came at night because he was searching for answers or light in the dark places of his life. He also wanted to avoid being judged by his colleagues since this was a time when many were very bitter toward Jesus. At this time, Nicodemus spoke of how he was impressed with the signs that Jesus made, but Jesus moved to a more important subject when he stated that one must be, “born anew” before they can see the reign of God. A new life— like a brand-new baby discovering the world again.

In those days and perhaps in today’s society, where you come from determines who you are and where you are going. Jesus was clear that to be born again is to be connected or born from God using the word “above.” Nicodemus asked, “How is it possible for an adult to be reborn? It’s impossible to enter the mother’s womb for a second time and be born.” Jesus said that since Nicodemus was a teacher, he should understand these things. It’s all in scripture.

Why couldn’t Nicodemus see it? To be born again is to born of the water and the spirit— it is baptism. In this the human spirit, not the flesh, changes in eternal ways. This was the answer, the light in his darkness that Nicodemus had been seeking, whether he
knew it or not. The thing is, sometimes we can ‘lift up’ things and put so much faith in them or pay so much attention to them that they become the most important thing in our lives. We miss what is important, we miss hearing God calling to us to refocus on love.

Can you think of some examples of things we lift up and focus on, whether slogans or actual objects? Think about the placards you see in a demonstration and the people shouting out words in support of whatever it is they’re holding. This is what they are saying is their focus and important to them as they lift up their placards. Have you ever noticed particularly in sports involving the USA someone always manages to lift a placard up in front of the TV cameras that either says John 3:16 or quotes the passage?  Check it out and notice every time the Olympic Games or other important events such as NFL games are being televised world-wide this seems to happen. You may ask why anyone would want to do that... but I reckon they are trying to give us a reminder of God’s love for the world,

John 3:16 is one of the most oft-quoted Bible verses. This verse, speaks of God’s love
for us and how we will never perish and have eternal life if we believe in Jesus. God’s love is open and available to all. God allowed the death of Jesus at human hands to show us the magnitude of his love. Then God gave us the Resurrection to enable us to come back into relationship. This is the kind of love that is mutual and full of God’s grace. God’s grace sent Jesus into the world not to judge it but to bring it back into relationship and enable the world to live as God calls us to live. This was the very mission of Jesus.

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