Sermons on John
Our reading from Ephesians is a good indicator that this truly MAY be an age old question! This passage is moving for some and troubling for others with its warrior imagery. We’ll spend time this Sunday exploring this text in relation to the last of the “Jesus as bread of life” texts from the Gospel of John.
“Take. Eat. This is my body, broken for you.” Those of us who are newer to Christianity might have an advantage here and be more able to perceive how shocking these words were to Jesus’ contemporaries. Folks who gathered around Jesus, including his own disciples, balked when Jesus started talking about “eating his flesh” and “drinking his blood.” And who can blame them? At face value, it’s a fairly gory notion. But in this passage Jesus says, “Unless you do this…you have no life in you.” That’s the piece we’ll focus on in worship today. What does Jesus mean when he says this? Is Jesus talking about physical life? Eternal life? Or is there something else?
Just like our bodies experience hunger pangs, our hearts and spirits can also experience “soul pangs.” It seems as if we’re born into this world with certain hungers for love, belonging, connection, joy, play, peace and so much more. We often experience these “hungers” in isolation, not acknowledging them to others and, very frequently, not even acknowledging them to ourselves. Today we explore Jesus’ claim to be the “break of life” and what that means for our deepest hungers.
Today we begin a four-week sermon series that will take us through a variety of questions that begin with the phrase “I’ve Been Meaning to Ask You.”
Our scripture passage for today highlights a Pharisee named Nicodemus whose interest, curiosity and hope appeared to be piqued by Jesus. Jesus tells him that all must be “born again” or “born from above” and Nicodemus struggles with what that might possibly mean. “How can we possibly be born again when we’ve already been born?”
Our scripture today continues in the Eastertide theme of life in relationship with God. Jesus talks about his love for the disciples and their love for one another using the language of friendship. And, even as we read his words, we might find ourselves asking, “How do we, frail, fallible human beings even come close to fulfilling this commandment?”
Our lectionary readings for today include Psalm 23 along with a portion of John’s gospel that reminds us that Jesus is the good shepherd. What does it mean for us to be sheep? What does it mean to have a shepherd?
Despite anything and everything that has come before, despite hardship and struggle, despite pain and suffering, despite plagues and pandemics, despite any and all circumstances that have felt as if they were too much to bear, morning comes…day breaks…Easter arrives.
Do you feel God calling you to respond to interruptions differently; and if so, in what way? Join us this morning as we reflect on John 12 and Jesus’ heightening conflict with the Pharisees.
Our lectionary readings today bring us two fairly complex and curious passages with which to wrestle. The first testament reading from Numbers may be totally unfamiliar. If you suffer from Ophidiophobia (fear of snakes), you might find it especially disturbing! Our Gospel reading, on the other hand, is likely to be familiar to all. It contains perhaps the best known and often repeated line of Christian scripture that’s out there…“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son…” What is the connection between these passages?