Day 4 – (March 9, 2019)
1 Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. 2 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.” 3 Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” 4 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?” 5 Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. 6 What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is
Jesus’ rise to stardom happened very quickly. His popularity was enormous. He said amazing things and backed them up with extraordinary deeds—and as we read yesterday, he even turned water into wine. Nicodemus, one of the Jewish religious leaders, was among the thousands impressed by Jesus’ words and actions. He wanted to meet Jesus to find out more but, because of his position as a Jewish leader, it seems that for Nicodemus such a meeting was best under the cover of night. John may have included this detail to highlight something else—the nocturnal shroud hinting that Nicodemus was spiritually in the dark. What Nicodemus wanted Jesus to answer was how he could find God, a question we all ask at some time in our lives.
Nicodemus, as one of the religious elite, may have expected that Jesus would give him a ringing commendation on what a fine job he was doing with his life. Something like, ‘Keep calm and carry on and there’ll be a day when you will find God.’ Instead, Jesus made this breathtaking response: “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” No amount of education, social re-organization or self-discipline can eliminate the fundamental moral distortion of our human heart.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn once commented: ‘If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?’
We need a new beginning, a fresh start, and this can only occur outside of ourselves. Such rebirth can only come from God through the breath of his Spirit.
Almighty God, who taught the hearts of your faithful people by sending them the light of your Holy Spirit: enable us by the same Spirit to have a right judgment in all things and always to rejoice in his holy comfort; through the merits of Christ Jesus our Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (BCP, Whit Sunday – adapted)
Daily Reading Plan
Read John 2:23-3:15