Wednesday Word 5.30.2018

John 3:1-17 New International Version

3 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.’ 8 The 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.” 9 “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked. 10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11 Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

The idea of being born again was always kind of weird to me. I would hear the phrase tossed around and never really got it. I thought it was just something that people said, something like, “Oh yeah, I go to church.” It is so much more than that. Being born again is a state of being. It is being given a new way of seeing and a new way of responding to the world. It is a new way of living life. It is God’s way.

Patty Loveless and Emory Gordy wrote a song called “Two Coats” (Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC). It tells about how Jesus brought her a new life and the difference it made. The song explains that whether or not to accept the gift was her choice and it was the best decision she ever made. What a beautiful image! You and I did not have a choice about being born. Our birth was the result of the actions of others, followed by nearly perfect conditions that had to be sustained for roughly nine months in order to accomplish the miracle of our birth. You and I can take no ownership of that birth. Likewise, you and I can take no responsibility for the miraculous grace offered to us by God Almighty through the actions of Jesus Christ. The difference is this time, we get to choose. Do we accept the new life offered to us or go on trying to navigate blindly under our own steam? Do we choose to wander alone or choose to walk with Christ?

We are loved. We hear it in one of the most often quoted verses, “For God so loved the world…” We can step into a new life because of that love. Every time my steps falter or I make a wrong turn, I know that God’s love will lift me up. I need never be alone again. It is a life filled with hope…something to pray about.

Your sister in Christ, Vicki