3rd Sunday of Lent – March 7, 2021

3LB21.   Exodus 20:1-17. God proclaims his authority to act as God over his people when he says, “I, the Lord, am your God.” Then he reminds his people of the salvation He, as only God could do, had worked for them by taking them out of slavery in Egypt.  Next he gives them the Ten Commandments as the first step in establishing his rule over them as an introduction to giving them the whole Law or the Torah in the first five books of the Old Testament.  By choosing to rule or reign over his people, God is embracing them as his own as parents embrace their children with love by bringing order into their lives.  The order that obedience to God brings to our lives is the root of all true goodness.

John 2:13-25.  The Old Testament Law required that the Jews offer specific animal sacrifices or cereal offerings. The money changers and the animals that Jesus drove out of the temple area were there to fulfill the requirements of the Old Testament Law.  When questioned about his action, Jesus responded in cloaked language that meant that he was establishing a new law through his death and resurrection.  By the one sacrifice of himself on the cross all the sacrifices of the animals in the Old Testament were being done away with.

This Sunday’s gospel goes on to say, “But Jesus would not trust himself to them because he knew them all, and did not need anyone to testify about human nature.  He himself understood it well.”  Jesus worked miracles in order to help people to come to recognize him as the Son of God.  However the peoples’ human nature led them to follow him, not because of who he was and so to put faith in his being the divine person that he was and is, but rather to put their faith in an endless procession of miracles.  Human nature had made of the animal sacrifices of the Old Testament Law just external actions that people offered without sacrificing or giving themselves over to their loving God.  So too people viewed Jesus’ miracles just as actions to be believed in, and not to give themselves over to the person Jesus, who was demonstrating himself to be the Son of the loving God.  They were looking for someone who would save their bodies from sickness before they died, but not someone who would give them the health and holiness that was for all eternity.  God is the Ruler of our lives and the only One who can give us true life today and forever.  Jesus’ miracles were actions that said ‘make me your life and you will have eternal life.’  The sick people whom Jesus cured one day were going to die later, but by taking Jesus into their hearts as the love that is life, would give them a life that would never die.

1 Corinthians 1:22-25.  Paul wrote: “Jews demands signs and Greeks look for wisdom,” in other words, the Jews wanted miracles and the Greeks, high intellectual logic and reasoning.  Human nature puts its faith in human wisdom and human strength, but wisdom and miracles are not to be worshipped as if they were our God.   Wondrous works or words lead us to God who gives them through human beings but they are not be worshipped in the place of God.  What God makes is not greater than or equal to God but lead us to the Maker.  We do not adore creation but only the Creator.