“Evil originates not in the absence of guilt; but in our effort to escape it.” – Shannon L. Alder
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“Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”
The gospel writer here gives us insight into scapegoating.
In the Old Testament, this was a literal practice in which the Jewish chief priest symbolically laid the sins of the people upon one goat.
It would be beaten and sent out into the wilderness to rid them of their sins.
It sounds preposterous, but it’s still a regular practice in which one person is blamed for the wrongdoings, mistakes, or faults of others.
When the Israelites were suffering in the desert after being led out of Egypt by Moses, they blamed the serpents which were biting them for all their misery.
In fact, it was their own lack of faith and trust that was at the root of their troubles.
God told Moses to make a bronze serpent and mount it on a pole.
He was then instructed to lift it up, and all who looked upon it would be healed.
In today’s scripture, Jesus says he will be lifted up, as in nailed to a cross, so that “everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”
In other words, Jesus would become the scapegoat to show us how wrong scapegoating is!
It would allow him to model the ultimate non-violent response to injustice, forgiving all for his murder.
Jesus’ sacrifice would also be his ultimate example of dying to self that he modeled his whole ministry.
He tried to show his followers and all who would listen that the self-emptying path is the path to abundant life now.
It’s the only way to become your true self and the open channel of God’s unconditional love that you were meant to be.
It’s how the kingdom of God, as Jesus called it, comes alive on Earth.
Believing in Jesus is not simply a mental exercise.
That has very little effect on the world.
Jesus means believing in him in the sense that you believe in his way of life and you follow it.
You and I are meant to follow the same self-emptying-path so as to channel God’s love in each of our unique ways.
If we do, we will experience the first tastes of eternal life…right now!
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Remember: God loves you!