Reflections: The Second Sunday of Lent

March 5, 2023 

Today’s Reading:
John 3:1-7 

Daily Lectionary: Gen. 16:1-9, 15:17-22, Mark 6:1-13 

Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” (St. John 3:1–2) 

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Remember the last time the power went out? Unless you had a flashlight or your cell phone handy, you likely stumbled around for a bit trying to find your way without tripping or banging your shins into the furniture. 

Being lost in the darkness can be a big deal, especially when you have no idea where you are going. Nicodemus was in the dark, both literally and metaphorically. St. John says he came to Jesus “by night,” which makes sense. After all, he doesn’t want the other Pharisees to find out he’s hanging out with this guy they’ve spent so much time trying to cancel. 

But Nicodemus is in the dark in another way. St. John uses darkness again and again in his gospel to show us how people come to understand who Jesus is by moving from darkness into light. From not believing that Jesus is God, to understanding and believing His divinity. From the darkness of sin and death into the light of Christ, the certainty that Jesus has come for you and your salvation. 

Nicodemus admits that both he and his fellow Pharisees know that Jesus is a teacher from God, but they just can’t connect the last of the dots, they can’t get the cord plugged in to turn the light on. Actually, they refuse to plug it in, because they prefer the darkness. And so they stumble, they trip, they bash their shins against the cornerstone, the “stumbling block,” the scandal, that is God in the flesh. 

Thankfully, it isn’t up to us to plug in the cord, or to come to an understanding about Jesus on our own. This is the power and the might of the Word of God. He does it all for us. He plugs in the light, turns it on, focuses its power and brightness upon us, warms us with its glow, and makes sure it never goes out again. 

Jesus is able to do these things not because God is with Him, but because He himself is God. God in the flesh, for you, working to do what you cannot to bring you to faith and salvation in His mighty works. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. 

O God, You see that of ourselves we have no strength. By Your mighty power defend us from all adversities that may happen to the body and from all evil thoughts that may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (Collect for the Second Sunday in Lent) 

-Pastor Duane Bamsch is the Pastor at Grace Lutheran Church in Grass Valley, CA  and the President of Higher Things.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Patrick Sturdivant, Development and Marketing Executive at Higher Things.

Study Christ’s words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.