“And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”
“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”John 3:14-17
Jesus’ advent amongst us can lead to life or it can confirm one’s place among the dead, much like what we read in Ephesians chapter 2. God’s motivation for sending Jesus is not condemnation, but as John 3 says, God’s motivation is love.
God sends Jesus into the world, and that trip culminates with Jesus’ own placement upon a stake, a pole, a Roman cross. Lifted high, Jesus’ pierced body demands attention, our attention. Just like the serpent in the wilderness Moses used to save the Israelites, Jesus’ body, which is the very location of God’s glory, is the most staggering revelation of the gospel and the life it offers. Rather than judging, Jesus’ form suspends and hangs, in order to be seen by those who dare face the abhorrence of “the sin of the world” that caused the Lamb of God to die.
Yet, rather than despair, this sight is also the place of life, the sign of God’s profound love for all of creation, for all of us. Just as the Israelites in Numbers 21 looked to the serpent, a sign of their sin, in order to be healed, we too must look at our sin in order to be healed. Again, I say we must look at our sins in order to be healed.
Do understand Jesus did not sin, but Jesus took on our flesh, and on the cross Jesus accepted all of our sin upon him, he took on the sins of the world past, present, and future, and he did so that we might have life. Hear the good news this Lenten season, the good news of God’s love for you. God so loves you he gave his only begotten son for you. Jesus so loves you he took upon himself all of your sin, so you may have life.
107:1 O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever.
107:2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, those he redeemed from trouble
107:3 and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south.
107:17 Some were sick through their sinful ways, and because of their iniquities endured affliction;
107:18 they loathed any kind of food, and they drew near to the gates of death.
107:19 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress;
107:20 he sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from destruction.
107:21 Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wonderful works to humankind.
107:22 And let them offer thanksgiving sacrifices, and tell of his deeds with songs of joy.Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22