Saturday, 19 March 2011

Looking up with Nicodemus

In the midst of trying to understand all of the darkness and uncertainties and terrible events that the journey of life can bring a Pharisee, a well known teacher among the Jews, Nicodemus came to Jesus in the night seeking answers. Answers from a man said to be close to God in the midst of the Roman oppression.

Nicodemus searches out a deeper understanding of life and of God and Jesus challenges him to look up at the cause of his affliction, just as Moses lifted the snake in the desert so too the Son of man shall be lifted up.

The serpent lifted on the pole by Moses was God’s healing for the Israelites afflicted by snakes in the desert. They looked upon the cause of their terror and they were released from the fatal bonds of the venom.

So too Jesus instructs Nicodemus to look upon him lifted on the cross: dying, dying and dead Jesus becomes the source of our healing.

To look upon Jesus on the cross is to be confronted by our own mortality and our own fear of death and godforsakeness and to be given hope: for the one who dies on the cross, also rises to live again.

This man, this Jesus, in whom we are called to believe came into the world not to condemn the world but in order that we might have life.

Here is hope, that God does more than watch our coming in and our going out but in and through Jesus, God lives with us through our coming in and our going out.

Does believing in Jesus lead us into some sort of utopian existence and idyllic life without any troubles? Is this what is promised? No, but being born from above and so lifting our eyes to see Jesus we find hope that God goes with us on all our journeys.

This is the good news for all those who have set out on journeys in the these days and months that have past, God journey’s is with us and God will lead us in God’s own time into that safe haven and refuge of eternal life.

In this time of Lent then we are called to hear and obey just as Abram heard and obeyed.

For some this will mean listening for God’s command to set out on a journey which may involve traversing new territories, or even going to Jesus in the midst of our darkness. Whilst, for others of us it will mean being the ones who faithfully declare our prayer and hope that whatever happens and wherever we go God will be there.

He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time on and forevermore.

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