Born of Paradise

An Argument to be Exalted

SUNDAY, MARCH 11, FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT

14 ‘And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.’ – John 3:14-15 New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition (NRSVACE)

First a Warning!

There is a true battle which rages within us, it consumes us, and in the end, it will either prove us to be innocent and straightforward children of God beyond reproach or guilty sinners unworthy of eternal life. For I confess we will either be with God in heaven or be like the snake and trampled underfoot.

The Snake of Fiery Copper

4-5 They set out from Mount Hor along the Red Sea Road, a detour around the land of Edom. The people became irritable and cross as they traveled. They spoke out against God and Moses: “Why did you drag us out of Egypt to die in this godforsaken country? No decent food; no water—we can’t stomach this stuff any longer.” 6-7 So God sent poisonous snakes among the people; they bit them and many in Israel died. The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke out against God and you. Pray to God; ask him to take these snakes from us.” Moses prayed for the people. God said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it on a flagpole: Whoever is bitten and looks at it will live.” So Moses made a snake of fiery copper and put it on top of a flagpole. Anyone bitten by a snake who then looked at the copper snake lived.” – Numbers 21:4–9 The Message (MSG)

Reflection

For I tell you, my brothers and sisters, that Jesus came from heaven, he is of heaven, descended from paradise barring witness to the things he saw and heard and from his experiences testified here on earth to the truth. In this, I speak plainly so it will not be misunderstood or mischaracterized by talented charlatans who speak out of the side of their mouth, who weave a believable story which leads thousands astray.  So, that it may be made known to you the secret message of, (John 3:14-15). This message is more of a revelation about the Season of Lent and the selfless acts which are characterized in what God has done for us.  For this season of Lent is all about rebirth, it is about renewal, it is all about repentance, and forgiveness. It is about God showing us His everlasting grace, and bring to humanity the wisdom of life; the words of every lasting life.  We find here in this scriptural reading that Jesus is making the argument to Nicodemus that before people actually commit and believe in something, even if it was a well-known truth, written down in black and white moreover, proven in plain daylight; we human beings still need a signpost! In many ways, even with a signpost, there are some who still question its validity and procrastinate with questions that they already know the answer to. In this Jesus is instructing us that his signpost leads straight to Heaven, to salvation, we can skip past Hell collect eternal life and move on to spending eternity with God forever! As Moses lifted up the serpent as a signpost, so is God lifting up His son here on Earth to lead us all to everlasting life! Thus, I gave the warning against those who would tell you others wise first, I expressed this internal fight we all have with ourselves so you all may see there are no more reasons to continue warring with yourselves, (internally), just as there is no longer the basis to listen to liers and thieves about God’s signpost… Our Lord Jesus Christ! I boldly proclaim for the world to read in black and white the truth, for we are in the crisis of disbelief in the face of a modern world who has grown to think, dare to believe, that Christ is no longer relevant, that the laws of God have no hold on us, and if you fall to this disbelief you fall to sin and damnation needlessly! Just like the Israelites who cursed God and Moses in the desert. Surely I say to you your spirit will be forever damned needlessly! I say needlessly because all you have to do is look to the serpent lifted up on the flagpole, look to Jesus Christ who suffered and died on the cross!

A question of a new hearer: ‘So, how do I know this signpost is real? I mean… it is a scary thing to give up control of our lives and give that control to God. Someone we cannot see, feel, hear, or touch. So, how can I or anyone else be sure Jesus is the real deal?’ 

Answer: ‘Just Look!’

What is of Earth & What is of Heaven

31-33 “The One who comes from above is head and shoulders over other messengers from God. The Earthborn is earthbound and speaks earth language; the heaven-born is in a league of his own. He sets out the evidence of what he saw and heard in heaven. No one wants to deal with these facts. But anyone who examines this evidence will come to stake his life on this: that God himself is the truth.” – John 3:31-33 The Message (MSG)

The principal thought that should be in every human beings mind once hearing Jesus’s message for the first time prior to committing to being baptized is this… ‘Already, how have I handled myself before others?’  The hearer should be concerned with how they have led their lives up to this point, how they have conducted themselves, and they should already before hearing the message have wanted to have acted humbly thinking of others needs first rather than their own. The pretext is just as important as the post-change soon to follow the baptism. I started with this because Jesus has already testified to the truth and the life God wants for us, we know what is possible if only we submit and believe. The first time hearer needs to understand this basic fact and accept it as truth. I say this because it is not an easy thing to do, for either party, the one who is leading and the one who is following. Prime example, (John 3:1-10), in which Nicodemus, a full-fledged Pharisee who seeks Jesus out but was still fighting this internal war I spoke about in the beginning. His questions elementary in nature revealing his wanting to believe, but just needed Jesus to be that signpost. Nicodemus was deeply troubled as he tried to resolve his own faith and beliefs with what his eyes had witnessed and his ears had heard from Jesus – in the flesh! The moral of the story frankly is simple, God wants you to exhibit the changed life once you have committed because He is committed to you! God is in a league all His own, He knows your mortal body could never see Heaven in its fullness and He knows the spirit is weighed down by the wants of the flesh. God knows that before you can accept the truth there needs to be a very persuasive argument. Above all, God also knows to be saved all you have to do is look – look at His saving grace of the cross. I think that the one thing we can rely upon with confidence each time we confess our faith in Jesus, is the promise He spoke two-thousand years ago – found in, (Luke 21:15);

‘I will inspire you with the wisdom which your adversaries will be unable to resist.’

Closing Prayer

God our Father,

Foundation and source of our salvation, may we proclaim your glory every day of our lives, that we may sing your praise forever in heaven. O Lord, make my joy complete by your unanimity, possessing the one love, united in spirit and ideals. I pray that you help me and all of humanity daily to never act out of rivalry or conceit; rather, let us think humbly of others as superior to ourselves, looking to our brothers and sisters interests from all around the world rather than our own. As I look to the Day of Christ, O My God I know you will always be there holding my hand validating my faithfulness uplifting me at the end showing me that I did not run the race in vain or work to no purpose. As you have done this for me I know you will do the same for all your children whom you love endlessly. We, your children, ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. – The Liturgy of the Hours

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever.

May the Lord bless you, protect you from all evil and bring you to everlasting life.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Saint Joseph, Pray for us.Sancte Ioseph – ‘ora pro nobis,’

Now go spread the word!

Reaffirming Our Mission

To Always Image Christ in Mind, Heart, Body, and Soul.

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Listening Faithfully Blog written by Brian K. Stark © 2009-2018

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