Reflection on the Fourth Sunday of Lent (Laetare Sunday) March 14, 2021

Gospel of John 3: 1-21 

Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. 2 He came to Jesus by night and said to him, ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.’ 3 Jesus answered him, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.’ 4 Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?’ 5 Jesus answered, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. 6 What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not be astonished that I said to you, “You must be born from above.” 8 The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.’ 9 Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can these things be?’ 10 Jesus answered him, ‘Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things? 11 ‘Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 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. 16 ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. 17 ‘Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgement, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. 20 For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. 21 But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.’ 

Let us pray:  We ask your prayers for the church to be filled with life through the Holy Spirit and strengthened to carry out the vision God has for us. We pray that as we proceed with God’s mission we will grow in faith and love. This we ask in the Name of your Son Jesus our Lord. Amen 

This Sunday is Laetare Sunday,(also known as pink Sunday) half-way through Lent, It is a Sunday where some of the austere traditions of Lent are relaxed. The fourth Sunday is a day of hope with Easter within sight. It is a time when the light of the resurrection of Jesus can be felt. The Gospel this Sunday tells us that those with faith, nothing will keep them from the light, the light is our promised inheritance, the light that keeps our faith strong, We have to be cautious of those who do not come to the light, because their deeds are done in darkness.  

It is helpful if you read the first part of John 3, to have a better understanding of this section of the Gospel. Nicodemus was a main character along with Jesus in this Gospel, Nicodemus had heard many stories about Jesus and about the message he was preaching. Nicodemus was determined to listen to Jesus preach. Jesus taught with an authority that Nicodemus had never experienced in his life. Also, there was a quality of strength and integrity in Jesus that other preachers and prophets had not had. Nicodemus was determined to hear Jesus preach and speak and hopefully, to also talk with him. Jesus was and still is the light that came into this world! And even though darkness ruled and eventually killed him, His light still shines brightly! Do we experience Jesus’ “light” in our lives? Do we look for His presence, his message, his care, his love? We all desire to personally experience Jesus and his message. We long to be in his presence and experience his light and love!  Lent is a time in which we are reminded of both darkness and light, of both dread and hope. Unfortunately, our society and sometimes we exist in a Lenten present in which darkness thrives. Lent, therefore, is not merely a season of belief or unbelief, but a season of profound action. Lent is a prayerful season in which we should humbly know that both our thoughts and actions will be tested against the light of God. The incarnation of the Son continues. Even though we are surrounded by darkness, we have been charged to act as light. Our responsibility is not simply to repent for the love of the darkness, but, in loving the light, to continue Christ’s redeeming work, that darkness will be overcome and the world itself might be saved. God saved us through the life and death of Jesus Christ, God’s only Son. This verse also tells us clearly what our human response to the Gospel should be—we receive in faith what God so graciously and freely offers us and in receiving it, we have eternal life. 

Let us Pray: Let us be thankful on this Fourth Sunday of Lent that as we approach Easter, we pray that the light of the Lord guides us through the darkness, guides us to His saving Grace. The Grace that provides us with hope in today’s world of stress and fear. This we pray in your Name. Amen. 


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