Second Sunday in Lent, March 16, 2014
Born of Spirit
Poor Nicodemus. Jesus blows his mind. I feel for him. I really do. Nicodemus is no dullard. He is kind of a big deal in the Jewish community. Educated. A prominent leader. Faithful in his religious observance.
He sneaks out at night to meet with Jesus. Jesus of the cult-following ranks, Nicodemus can’t actually be seen with him/ But the Pharisee is drawn to him, maybe even fascinated by him, and he seems to be convinced that Jesus has some divinely inspired gifts. He is curious. Who can blame him?
Poor Nicodemus. He barely gets the conversation started when Jesus cuts him to the quick, spiritually speaking. You must be born from above—born of Spirit—to see the kingdom of God as I do, he tells Nicodemus.
baptism + belief = born again into new life in the kingdom of God You simply need to look at the One whom God has lifted up to understand and believe that the Spirit of God works through him.
Poor Nicodemus. He knows the Law and he knows the purity codes, but this Spirit business is not what religion is all about to him. Nicodemus is pretty convinced that he is a human being, born of a human womb, and cannot be born again. Nicodemus needs some time to wrap his head around this idea that he is not just a flesh-and-blood being, but a being that can allow the Spirit of God to work in and through him, without his ever harnessing it or understanding it or defining it completely.
For God so loved the world, that the One who was born from above was lifted up for us so that we might believe and live also.
Don’t be too hard on yourselves/ This is the spiritual challenge of our human experience. We may never wrap our heads around that fully.
Staci Marrese-Wheeler, pastor, Lakeview Moravian Church, Madison, Wisconsin