Day 360 | Sunday, 14 March 2021
The assigned Scripture readings for this the fourth Sunday in Lent are, Numbers 21:4-9; Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22; Ephesians 2:1-10 and John 3:14-21.
The passage from John includes one of the most quoted verses from the scriptures – John 3:16. I share the passage from John from the Message. John 3:16-21 is a summary of the fourth Gospel. The more familiar language uses “So Loved” but “so loved” does not mean “loves so much.” Rather it means “loved in this way”; that is, God’s love is giving and purposeful – to rescue and give life. “Eternal life” in John means abundant life in relation to Jesus now as well as in the future or as Peterson writes it –“anyone can have a whole and lasting life.”
I would encourage you to read the Ephesians passage along with the passage from John. In fact, I will add the Ephesians passage from the Message for comparison to your favorite translation.
14 In the same way that Moses lifted the serpent in the desert so people could have something to see and then believe, it is necessary for the Son of Man to be lifted up -
15 and everyone who looks up to him, trusting and expectant, will gain a real life, eternal life.
16 "This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.
17 God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.
18 Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person's failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.
19 "This is the crisis we're in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness. They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God.
20 Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won't come near it, fearing a painful exposure.
21 But anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes God-light so the work can be seen for the God-work it is."
1 It wasn't so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin.
2 You let the world, which doesn't know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience.
3 We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It's a wonder God didn't lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us.
4 Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love,
5 he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us!
6 Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah.
7 Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus.
8 Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It's God's gift from start to finish!
9 We don't play the major role. If we did, we'd probably go around bragging that we'd done the whole thing!
10 No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.
Praise God for God’s grace and gift of salvation!