For this fourth Sunday of Lent, my Monday night lectionary discussion group explored this wonderful quirky story found in Numbers 21:4-9, and also one of the most famouse Gospel passsages of all time, John 3:14-21.
The group found the parallels between these two passages fascinating. I admitted to the group that although lots of people will state that John 3:16 is the verse that changed their lives, I find that John 3:16 doesn't mean as much to me when it is seperated contextually from John 3:17. The two combined are the whole of the gospel in a nutshell for me!
We spent a lot of time discussing that serpent in Numbers. What was it about gazing at that thing that provided healing? Also, the group pointed out (with very little prompting from me) that although the Israelites could be healed from theri snake bites, there were still snakes in their lives; in other words, although Christ came to deliver us from sin adn eternal death, being a Christian does not mean that we will no longer have trials or tribulations. Salvation does not mean an easy life. The snakes are still out there.
What are you pondering this week as you preapre to preach (or not to preach)?