Sunday is the “Fourth Sunday IN Lent.”  On the church calendar it’s known as “Laetare Sunday,” one of two Sundays when the liturgical color is “Pink” or “Rose.”  It’s meant to be a day of celebration within the austere period of Lent; a day of relaxation from Lenten rigors, and a day of hope with Easter in sight.

The assigned texts, Number 21 and John 3, reference a story of hope in dire situations as people faced death from snake bites and Jesus faced death on a cross. The situation in Numbers occurred while the Hebrews people wondered aimlessly in the desert after leaving Egypt.  The people got impatient and spoke out against God and Moses.  At that same time, they also found themselves in a place infested with poisonous snakes, and many folks died from snake bites.  They believed the snake’s bites were God’s punishment.  So, they asked Moses to pray to God to take the snakes away.  Moses made a serpent of bronze, put it up on a pole with the instructions that “everyone who is bitten shall look at it and live.”  That symbol known as “Caduceus” is to this day used as a medical emblem.

Just prior to the famous verse of John 3:16, Jesus references this story as a way of speaking of what would be His death on the cross.  Jesus’ point was simple that we are NOT to focus on the tragedy of the snake bites or the violence of Jesus’ death on the cross as the end of the story.  We are to see past them and experience the hope of healing, resurrection, and life.  We are to “LOOK AND LIVE!”  And Jesus says in the assigned text John 3:16-17, this is a truth for everyone … “WHOSOEVER!” 

Join us this Sunday for worship, in-person, by Zoom, Facebook Livestream, or YouTube.  My sermon is a celebration of hope with the instructions to “Look and Live!”  It is based on “Numbers 21:4-9” and “John 3:14-17.”

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