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.” (NRSV)
Thoughts on Today's Verse...
One rainy Sunday afternoon, a little boy was bored and his father was sleepy. The father decided to create an activity to keep the kid busy. So, he found a large map of the world in the morning newspaper. He took scissors and cut it into a good many irregular shapes like a jigsaw puzzle. Then he said to his son, "See if you can put this puzzle together. And don't disturb me until you're finished." He turned over on the couch, thinking this would occupy the boy for at least an hour. To his amazement, the boy was tapping his shoulder ten minutes later telling him that the job was done. The father saw that every piece of the map had been fitted together perfectly. "How did you do that?" he asked. "It was easy, Dad. There was a picture of a man on the other side. When I got him together right, the world was right."
A person's world can never be right until the person is right, and that requires the miracle of new birth. Don't you dare stop asking God for the experience of new birth until you can shout from the housetops, "Through Jesus Christ, God has fundamentally changed my life!" (Bill Bouknight, Collected Sermons)
Isn’t this story true for all of us? If we could only get the person right, the world would really be a better place. I like to think that the picture on the other side of the map was one of Jesus. Once we get right with Jesus, each of us will have an easier time being right with the world. This week, I pray that each of us will try to get our own “person” right, to remember that we do not walk in this world as strangers to each other, and to become people who shout “Jesus has changed my life, let him change yours!” to everyone we meet.
God of second chances, grant that I may be born anew today into hope, peace, joy, love and forgiveness. Lift me by the Holy Spirit to heights I cannot imagine on my own. Bring me back to the living faith. May your grace become the focus of my life. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.