Today's Lectionary Text
When he was in Jerusalem during the Passover festival, many believed in his name because they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus on his part would not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to testify about anyone; for he himself knew what was in everyone.
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.
Nicodemus was a faithful priest and most likely followed the Jewish Laws and religious traditions well. When he heard Jesus preach, the words Jesus spoke touched Nicodemus’ heart, yet he did not understand.
Jesus asks us to live outside of the normal expectations of life. We are to forgive even if we are justified in our anger. He demands justice to those we don’t think deserve it. He gives mercy to those who can’t accept it. He asks us to sacrifice for those who don’t appreciate it and to love those who hate us.
Only by the power of the Holy Spirit are we ever able to do any of these things. It is against our human nature and we must allow the Holy Spirit to enter our hearts and minds in order to follow the direction that the Spirit leads us. Once we are able to consciously do that and ask for God’s help we are born of that Spirit and our old selves cease to exist.
I think that this is a fluid process, one that Jesus compares in this scripture to the wind blowing. So, our lives are always being changed in an ebb and flow of acceptance and rejection of this Holy perfection.
Because we are human, we react to the situation at hand. How many times do we say or do something we wish we could take back? But over time as we become more in tune with listening to the direction of the Holy Spirit we become perfected as new creations. Then when our lives on earth are over, we are born once again into the Heavenly kingdom, perfected in Jesus grace and mercy.
Wellsville (Kansas) UMC Lenten devotions
Prayer for Reflection
Lord help me to live as Your new creation each and every day.
We would love to hear your story! Sign up to contribute to our daily devotion.
This Week's Lectionary
This Week's Liturgical Color