Third Sunday of Lent – March 24, 2019

3LC19. As Moses was tending a flock, he saw that a “bush, though on fire, was not consumed. Approaching the burning bush, God called out to Moses, “Come no nearer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground. I am the God of your fathers.” Speaking to Moses, God said that he came to rescue the Israelites from their afflictions at the hands of the Egyptians “and lead them out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey.” First, Moses was to tell the Israelites: “I AM sent me to you.” God lives not where time progresses from the past through the present to the future but in the eternal now without any progression in time because he is always infinitely the same who can never gain or lose anything. He is absolutely perfect always. Secondly, he uses his infinite power to rescue his loved ones from danger. He is not a god who is aloft and distant but a God who is present and involved because he is love.

Luke 13:1-9. Jesus says, “If you do repent, you will all perish as they did!” Lent is the time to be deeply aware of the horrible peril of hell. We are the fig tree in the parable. Produce the fruit that is holiness or be cut down and cast into the fire of hell. The Lord will fertilize us with his grace but he demands results. He will not accept any excuses.

1 Corinthians 10:1-6, 10-12. Paul tells the Corinthians that those who went through the desert exodus with Moses “all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink;” “yet God was not pleased with most of them.” Going through a past that had many spiritual connections, does not mean necessarily that we learned to give our hearts over to God. Evil befell them and “they were struck down in the desert,” “examples for us, so that we might not desire evil things as they did.” They are “as a warning to us.” “Whoever is thinks he is standing secure should take care not to fall.” Both Apostles Peter and Judas fell. One repented; the other perished. Human nature of itself cannot save us. It will lead us naturally to be dependent on our own resources and be led by our human nature to do what we want. James and John, the sons of Zebedee, and their mother asked for the sons to take the places of greatest honor in Jesus’ kingdom. It is human nature to get ahead and leave the others behind. However Jesus said in Matthew 20: 27-28, “and whoever would be first among you must be your slave; even as the Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and give his life as a ransom for many.” It is human nature to desire to be in control. To follow Christ means to let God be in control. That is the cross that Jesus demands that we carry. One moment being filled with God’s grace and so desiring that we belong to God’s Will only; the next, being naturally who we are and so wanting to run things our self.