Hello My Name Is…

Lent Sermon Series

This lent we will journey together to meet God again in Jesus. In our sermon series, Hello, My name is… we will explore the “I am” statements Jesus makes in the Gospel of John. Jesus introduces himself again to us through these six images, offering them as meditations for us to draw deeper into understanding who God is.

February 22—The Good Shepherd (John 10:11-21): In this parable we see the strange and compelling power of Jesus’ love. The word that is often translated as “good” can also be translated as “beautiful.” Jesus is the beautiful shepherd. This doesn’t mean that Jesus had the looks to win beauty pageants, but that his work as shepherd is strangely attractive to us. Jesus says that he is the shepherd who will not abandon the sheep when danger comes. When things get tough, others might run away but Jesus says that he will stay by our side and be with us. He will not only die for us, but he will die with us. What greater love is there than this?

March 1—The Bread of Life (John 6:26-35): This passage comes the day after Jesus has fed the crowd with fish and bread. The crowds come looking for him again to get fed once more. And Jesus rebukes them for seeing the sign of that meal but not understanding what it points to. They have missed the whole point of the miracle. The sign in the bread and fish does not point to Jesus as the best free cafeteria around. Instead, it points us towards understanding Jesus as the one who satisfied the deep needs of our souls. How often are we like those crowds, getting caught up in other things and missing the big picture?

March 8—The Word Made Flesh (John 1:1-18): We hear John retelling the story of creation and claiming that the story of God’s creative work continues. The Creator God is acting in a new way within God’s much loved creation. Through the Word made flesh, God says once again “let there be light.” How do you see God continuing to create new things in our world today?

March 15—The Resurrection and the Life (John 11:17-37): In this story we watch as Jesus experiences the painful loss of a dear friend, Lazarus, and the grief of Lazarus’ family. In the same breath in which Jesus proclaims that he is the Resurrection and the Life, he breaks down with grief and weeps. Jesus knows that through him his friend will rise again, and yet Jesus can’t hold back the tears and the grief. In his tears we see the compassion of God. The compassion that enters into our deepest states of grief and laments with us. And we begin to see that the path to Resurrection and Life is not always a triumphant dance, but it is one that walks through lament and tears to a space where tears of pain are transformed to tears of joy.

March 22—The Light of the World (John 8:12): The imagery of light and darkness is a powerful one in Scripture. Creation begins in darkness and God’s first act is to create light. In the Exodus, God leads the Israelites through the wilderness to the Promised Land as a pillar of fire shining in the darkness of the night around them. As people who tend to rely primarily on sight, it is no wonder that the imagery of light and darkness speaks powerfully to us. Light feels safe and comfortable, we can see who we are, the world around us, and where we are going in the light. The darkness can feel strange and frightening, it is full of the unknown for in the darkness we cannot see clearly. Jesus describes himself as the light of the world, the light that shines in the darkness. As the world looks different in the light of day, so everything, including ourselves, looks different in the light of Christ.

March 29—The True Vine (John 15:1-8): Jesus paints an image of himself as a vine and his followers as branches. He calls us to abide in him and promises that he will abide in us and we will bear fruit. On Palm Sunday we are reminded of how easy it is to shout Jesus’ praises but not abide in him. We are reminded of how easy it is to turn from celebrating Jesus to screaming for his death. How do we abide in Jesus when doing so get tough?

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