WELCOME TO BARBARAHS BLOG: Lent Week Four
The Gospel of John, Chapter 3 is an opportunity to see one of many parallels between the lives of Moses and Jesus. Both have accepted missions from God for our salvation, Moses leading the Jews out of the oppression of Egypt and providing them spiritual guidance throughout their forty year journey to the Promised Land. And Jesus, dying on the cross so we might realize the kingdom of heaven. Today’s Gospel Reading tells us of times when both Moses and Jesus were asked for signs that they were truly sent by God.
JESUS CONVERSATION WITH NICODEMUS, John, Chapter 3
This gospel refers to the few days Jesus was in Jerusalem before the Passover. Many of the pilgrims were drawn by his teachings and the healings he accomplished among them. But they continued asking for signs that he was truly the Son of God.
John’s gospel tells us that Nicodemus, a Jewish teacher, represents those who doubted what they cannot see. “Rabbi,” he says, “we know you have come from God as a teacher; for no one could perform the signs you do unless God was with him.” But as their conversation goes on, Nicodemus’ questions to Jesus suggest that with all the signs he has seen, he still doubts.
John draws a parallel between the signs asked of Jesus and those asked of Moses in the desert, with his statement “as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up.” John refers to a story in Exodus 4: Moses feared that the people and the Pharaoh of Egypt would ask for proof that he came from the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—and was asked by God to lead the Jews out of Egypt.
Moses stood before Yahweh holding a staff in his hands, while expressing concern that he would be asked for signs. “A staff,” says Yahweh. “Throw it to the ground.” Moses does so and the staff turns into a snake. Moses recoils from it, and Yahweh instructs him to “Reach out your hand and catch it by the tail.” Moses reaches out his hand, catches it and it turns back into a staff. “Thus they may believe that Yahweh, the God of their ancestors Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, has appeared to them.”
Here is the full quote from John: “As Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so must the Son of man be lifted up so that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him. For this is how God loved the world: he gave his only Son so everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”
There are many parallels in Jesus’ and Moses’ lives, but our focus here is on how Jesus’ days before the crucifixion were devoted to teaching in the Temple and giving signs to those in doubt about his lineage. Audio Imagery will help us focus on how we may continue to ask God for signs in our own lives.
Audio Imagery for The Fourth Sunday of Lent, the Gospels of John, Chapter 3
Note: These Imagery exercises can be done as a group of three. You may also do 1 and 2 together and three at another time as a single exercise.
Click Here for Audio Imagery – Gospel of John
1. Close your eyes and breathe out three times – See, feel, sense and know yourself as Moses, fearful the Pharaoh will not allow you to lead the Jews out of Egypt without a sign you are sent by Yahweh (G0d). Breathe out one time and open your eyes. Sit quietly and wait a long moment for the next exercise to begin.
2. Close your eyes and breathe out three times. See, feel, sense and know how it is to have a staff that turns into a snake you can control as a sign you are sent by God (Yahweh). Breathe out one time and open your eyes. Sit quietly and wait a long moment for the next Imagery Exercise to begin.
3. Close your eyes and breathe out three times. See, feel sense and know how we still ask God for signs? See one of those times in your life. Breathe out one time Knowing that the crucifixion of Jesus is our salvation, would you still ask God for a sign? If so, under what circumstances? Breathe out one time and open your eyes.
See you next week!
May the blessings of Lent be with you!