Read John 3.1-17

                Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews.  He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.”  Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” 

                Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old?  Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?”  Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.  What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.  Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’  The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” 

                Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?”  Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?  Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony.  If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things?  No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.  And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up,  that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.  For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.  Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

From Rev. Kenneth Hardway, First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Wheeling,

and Associate Regional Minister for Youth and Young Adults

                “How can this be?”  Jesus speaks of a different birth–anew, again, from above–yet Nicodemus is trapped by his old way of thinking.  And those of us who think we understand, we tend to be critical of Nicodemus’ misunderstandings.  Yet, do any of us fully understand?  This Lent, can we find solidarity with Nicodemus who will end up at the cross of Christ?

We, too, come to Jesus at night for we do not fully comprehend. We try to force the unfathomable grace of God into our preconceived worldviews and, at best, call it “doctrine” or “theology.” At worst, it’s merely justifications of our own sinful judgments.

Yet, still we come!  Faithfully curious— “Is there more than what I think I know?” Fascinated— “This teaching is beyond anything I’ve heard before!”  Uncomfortable— “Could this ‘world’ that God so loved be the same ‘world’ that nailed our Saving One to his cross, and continue to opposed his Good-News-Movement to this day?”  Awe-filled— “Even my best theological judgments couldn’t compare to the expanse of God’s loving reach of salvation in Christ Jesus, our Lord.

 

We may not fully understand, but still we come.  Meet us and expand us in your grace.

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