4th Sunday of Lent
March 30, 2003
2 Chronicles 36:14-17,19-23 II:
14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son
of man be lifted up,
15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life."
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever
believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
17 For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but
that the world might be saved through him.
18 He who believes in him is not condemned; he who does not believe is
condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only
Son of God.
19 And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and
men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20 For every one who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the
light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
21 But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be
clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God.
- Verses 14 to 21 constitute the second part of the conversation between
Jesus and Nicodemus when he came to seek out Jesus during the night. In the
first part of the conversation (3:1-13), Jesus told Nicodemus that man has
to be reborn through the Spirit to enter eternal life.
- (v.14) The reference of the bronze serpent is from the book of Numbers
21:4. As the bronze serpent was the symbol of salvation for the Israelites
who believed in God, the crucifixion of Jesus on the cross is the sign of
God's salvation for all mankind.
- (v.14) "Lifted up" implies both being lifted off the earth (being
crucified on the cross), and being lifted onto the glory of God (the
- (v.16) God's love is the single principle of his salvation for the world,
and humankind in particular. It is of this Love that God gifted the world
with His Son so that He would come, not to condemn, but to lead mankind to
- (v.18) Mankind must participate actively to obtain salvation by following
the path of the cross laid down by Jesus. By his own action of believing in
God and His salvation, mankind will determine his own salvation or condemnation.
- (v.21) With the theme of darkness versus light, John repeated the same
theme in the prologue (1:4) that Jesus is the light of the human race.
People who are not willing to come to the light which is Jesus, they do not
see the evil of their own disbelief.
- Faith is a question of "works" rather than "deeds." "Works" is a personal
response in faith through which the believer enters into a communion with
God through Jesus. Rejecting Jesus is to alienate oneself from a
life-giving communion with Jesus.
One Main Point
Because of His love for mankind, God gifted the world with His only Son,
Jesus. Because of His love for mankind, Jesus laid down the path for
salvation with His own blood and life for man to follow to obtain eternal
life. Love and faith in God are the keys to eternal life.
- Let us reexamine our attitude and mentality during our life of the past
month. Let us be honest to ourselves and reflect the priority we have given
to Christ and His will. Is Christ the "light" in our life, or is He just one
of the "lights", such as the "light" of arrogance, the "light" of acquired
wealth, the "light" of power, the "light" of hatred, etc.. Are we ready to
bet our life on the "light" of Christ?
- Let us reflect on the true motives that keep us from embracing the
"light" of Christ in our life. Does it make us loving someone that we want
to hate? Does it make us realize that we have our own priority? Or is that
because we are afraid that it will make clear the evil of our ways?
- "God so loved the world that He gave His only Son" is a declaration of
God's love to humankind. The agony of rejection is rather a common human
experience. Contemplate over the agony that God has to bear over the way we
use our freedom - a gift from God - to reject His love and His desire to
restore goodness in mankind.
- Salvation is belief in God accompanied by works done in God. "Belief in
Jesus" and "works done in God" must go together. Let us reflect on the
occasions when we lost our faith in God, and ask ourselves how often our
works were done in God.
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A synthesis by the Vietnamese Christian Life (Dong Hanh) Community