Gospel Reflections

4th Sunday of Lent

John 3:14-21

Sunday Gospel Reflection by Sister Josephine Threlfall

Published: March 11, 2018


God sent His Son so that through Him we might be saved.

Today some of the most profound messages for our lives come through most unlikely circumstances. This is certainly the case with today’s reading from John’s Gospel.

Here Jesus is having a conversation with Nicodemus a well respected member of the Jewish Sanhedrin who had come to question him. But Jesus was not always on friendly terms with some Jewish people because he challenged their messages in public. Also this meeting also took place at night time; a time of quiet prayer and reflection on theological matters among the Jewish people. Nicodemus wanted to know how anyone could enter God’s Kingdom and Jesus gave him a very clear and direct answer. “In all truth I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born through water and the Spirit” John3:5. Jesus then continued to explain why God had sent His Son Jesus into the world to save human kind from sin and evil.

He used the Old Testament incident of Moses and the Serpent in the desert to explain this message. Many people died in the wilderness/desert because they were bitten by the serpent when they sinned and did not put their trust in God. Moses was instructed to “Make a fiery serpent and put it on a standard and if anyone is bitten and looks at it he shall live” (Numbers 21:8-9). This sign was intended to foreshadow the coming of Jesus into the world to bring healing and Salvation.  As the fiery serpent was raised up so Jesus was lifted up on the cross and raised above the people, just as earthly rulers were raised above the people usually on a dais.

So through Jesus “being lifted up on the cross,” rising from the dead and ascending to Heaven this bring us life in the Spirit and adoption as sons and daughters of God. We are released from our sins and open to receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit “For this is how God loved the world: he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” John 3:16

The following verses continue to explain fully the abundance of God’s love for all people. His nature is love, he does everything because he loves all that He created, he is always ready to forgive and never condemns.  We know that God’s love is limitless that is why he gave the most precious thing that he had -his only son. It is humbling but encouraging to hear this and be aware of it at moments in our lives when we are tempted or discouraged. St. Augustine says, “God loves each one of us as if there were only one of us to love”.

We have the choice to live in the darkness of sin and disbelief or we can love the light of God’s truth, justice and generous love. All that is asked of us is that we believe in God and then we will enjoy eternal life.                                                           

“Jesus your death brought life to us. Thank you for this great gift. Help us to love and share your love with those around us.”

 

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