Week of March 14-20, 2011
Scripture: John 3:1-8
1 Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”
3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”
4 “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”
5 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
I have always been fascinated by the ease at which Jesus turns other people’s preoccupation with his relationship with God into an invitation for all, particularly through-out the Gospel of Matthew. Notice how, when Nicodemus says that “no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him”, Jesus immediately speaks of seeing the Kingdom of God and hints at how to do that. In other words, he takes the attention off himself and beckons Nicodemus to “step up to the plate” and see the world with new eyes and a new heart. Gurus, teachers, prophets, avatars--the danger for us still in the dark is to reach for the bright icon instead of the energy of the divine behind the man, the statue, the cross. That energy, that presence of God, is indeed very wind-like, hard (and even dangerous) to conceptualize and compartmentalize, but absolutely asking us to experienced it. To be born again is to open our eyes to experience, to wake up to the Kingdom around and within us and to be grateful that Jesus was such a wise and egoless guide who continually points us back into ourselves and our own relationship with God.