Sunday, 16 March 2014

Seeing in Jesus 3D

With reference to Genesis 12.1-4a; Romans 4.1-4, 13-17 and John 3.1-17—the Second Sunday in Lent, Year A

Jesus shows us how the world really is. To believe what he says about life and the world is true is like putting on a pair of 3D glasses. Without believing in the truth of Jesus we can still see what’s going on around us but the colours don’t quite register, what we see is misaligned and out of focus. When we look at our lives and the world around us through the 3D lenses of faith in Jesus, everything falls into place layer by layer and in proper perspective. Things start to pop so we can see what is near and what is far, what is up front and important and what is just background.

Consider Nicodemus in John 3 this morning. Look at verse 4: “How can a grown man be born again? He certainly cannot enter his mother’s womb and be born a second time!" How can any of this be, thinks Nicodemus without his faith-in-Jesus-3D glasses on? It doesn’t register. It doesn’t line up with what I see. Nicodemus can’t yet see what Jesus is describing, which is the way things really are, and the only way anyone can see and enter the kingdom of God (John 3.3, 5) So Jesus says, in effect, “Put your 3D specs on, Nicodemus! Believe! I’m telling the truth. I’m telling you about things of the Spirit and of heaven, eternal life and God’s love (John 3.12) which, without the way of seeing I provide, don’t always line up with the way things appear in the world.” We get to see the heavenly in the earthly.

Jesus says believe (Ro 4.3, 17; John 3.12, 15, 16), put the glasses of faith (Ro 4.5, 13, 14, 16) on, and you’ll see things the way they really are.

So what would be some faith-in-Jesus-3D insights this morning? It's worth a look, because I think you'll agree there are words here for us in this transition time—you must do your discerning and search for a new incumbent with your faith-in-Jesus-3D specs firmly in place so you can see the way clearly.

Let’s start with our Genesis reading: sometimes God calls us to leave our familiar surroundings, even leave home, and go somewhere new, just like he did Abram. Notice why. To be blessed (Gen 12.2) and to be a blessing (Gen 12.2-3).

Here are some faith-in-Jesus-3D insights from Romans: the things that we do; our “works,” obedience and rule following and how well we do all of that is not as important as the faith and the belief in Jesus that prompts them. It is the believing and the faith that is reckoned as righteousness, not the working or the adhering to the law. To believe is the work (John 6.29)

Look at verse 17: God brings things we think are dead to life. God brings into being what did not exist.

And now some faith-in-Jesus-3D insights from John. Look at verse 3: No-one can see the kingdom of God without being born again (or from above). Being so born requires those glasses.

Verse 5: no-one can get in without being born of water and the Spirit. Think baptism in water and the Holy Spirit.

Verse 8: it’s all rather mysterious, the glasses help.

Verses 15 & 16: believing in Jesus is the only way not to die and to have eternal life because the “so much” with which God loves the world is Jesus.

Praised be Christ Jesus!