Message from the Minister Letter 36 – Sunday 14th March

Dear all,

I hope and pray this letter finds you safe and well.  Well done to everyone who spotted the accidental mistake on last weeks letter, and to all those who did not who are now checking it, the date was correct but not the month itself!  This week, as the Lenten journey continues to pick up pace, we continue to look at the gospel of John.  The passage from John 3: 14-21 looks at the encounter, or the second half of it between Jesus and Nicodemus.  Communicating is important and it is vital to be clear when sharing things with people, so they do not get the wrong message or misunderstand what you are saying.  Remember the game of Chinese whispers (now called the Telephone Game) when someone whispered something into someone’s ear, and it had to be passed around the group and often what was said at the beginning was nothing like what came out at the end.  This shows if we are not careful to communicate clearly, message can be misconstrued or misheard and then confusion creeps in. 

Nicodemus wanted to know the answer to several questions that he had so he goes to speak to Jesus by night.  By Nicodemus doing this he was showing bravery and courage, for if he got caught, his position on the Jewish Ruling Council or the Sanhedrin could be in jeopardy.  Worse than this, his social status as a respected Jewish leader would also be in question and this could cause him to become an outcast by the Jewish community.  Yet he still came to see Jesus because he wanted answers to his questions which have clearly been playing on his mind and troubling him.  The second half of the encounter begins as Jesus is explaining to him things of a heavenly nature.  Jesus is comparing Himself to the snake which Moses hoisted up on a stick in the desert to heal people.  Just as the snake was lifted up so must Jesus be.  Can you recall where you see this image in our society?  Next time you see an ambulance look on the side and you will see this image; how many years have passed since Moses did this and yet that image is still used by the NHS as a symbol of help and medicine today. 

This acts as an introduction as to Jesus explaining how He fits into God’s plan for the salvation of humankind.  Verse sixteen which follows, is probably one of the most famous in the entire Bible, ‘for God so loved the world.’  This verse essentially explains the whole mission of Jesus succinctly in one phrase.  It is wonderful that God did this for us, and this is what Jesus is trying to communicate to Nicodemus, explaining that by believing in God through Christ, we are not condemned but become children of God.  There will be people though who will hate the light and want to do evil, and who will not want to turn to God for fear of their deeds being exposed.  But Jesus encourages Nicodemus by saying that he who lives by the truth comes into the light.  In other words, turn to God and His truth and it will bring you into the light, by accepting Jesus and turning to Him.  The lessons we learn this week; let us be clear in our communicating to others to avoid misunderstandings and mistakes and let us turn to Jesus, the truth giver as our guiding light and inspiration when He has done so much for us by His sacrifice on the Cross. 

May our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of Man, bless us now and always,

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