Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sun. Mar. 20, 2011 (J. Evan Kreider)

J. Evan Kreider spoke on John 3:1-17 enhancing our understanding of the tradition and the situation behind the story of Nicodemus’ relationship to Jesus in our touchstone passage in the Christian church “for God so loved the world...” Evan’s distinction between being “born from above” (rather than “born again,”) was an old Jewish tradition to emphasize a closer relationship with God without referring to God directly, as they were loath to do. Nicodemus also knew Gentile converts to Judaism were baptised with water, symbolizing starting over again as if being born like a child, but he never imagined that he, an observant Jew raised in the tradition, would have to do the same. It is difficult for us all to think outside our own spiritual traditions. But Jesus insisted God’s spirit washes impurities away, producing a new heart, rather than a newborn life. Jesus’ birth from above was tacitly agreed to by Nicodemus by acknowledgement of his miracle-working; thus could Nicodemus be reasonably asked to believe Jesus spoke with some authority about heaven. As Moses raised a serpent on high to save the wandering Jews who had been bitten by snakes from dying, so to was Jesus raised on the cross to save not just the righteous people of Israel, but all humanity, including Nicodemus. Mozart’s Requiem repeats this lesson as an artistic miniature; that despite obeying the law and the prophets, the young voice of a boy soprano asks how we are to face God alone with our sins along with us. John’s gospel, no matter how hard to believe, is no harder than believing a snake raised on high in the desert could save us. Give us the grace to believe. [AP]

Listen to the sermon audio MP3 recording from Sunday, March 20th, 2011 using your browser's preferred media player.



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