Jesus has been upsetting the insiders. One of them, Nicodemus, comes by night. I am told by Bible commentators that "night" implies more "not understanding" than a time. I had always taken "night" as literal and read that Nicodemus was hoping not to be seen by anyone important when he approached this trouble maker. After thinking about it for a moment, I've decided to keep both meanings.
Nicodemus asserts that the miracles they have seen Jesus perform have been persuasive. Yet apparently not completely so. It's night after all.
After being asked about how anybody can have a second birth, Jesus answers him by asserting the necessity of the Spirit.
"What is born of the Spirit is spirit....The wind blows where it chooses..." Remember that the Greek word translated as wind also means breath or spirit. God breathes on us; a force moves us like the wind moves us and that force is as invisible as the wind as it is as potent as the wind.
"So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit." Who is this "everyone"? Who has been born of the Spirit? Am I reassured? insulted? puzzled? grateful?
God of law and God of grace: Our minds are on the commandments you gave through Moses on Mount Sinai, and we hang our heads. You’ve asked little, and we fall so short. We have put other gods before you: money, work, pleasure, and prestige. As we bring our gifts to the altar today, we come with the deepest gratitude for your love that does not let us go, even when we fail. We pray that we may be found by you, far from perfect, but standing on your amazing grace! We ask this in the holy name of Jesus, the Christ. Amen. (Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20)
Prayers by Ken Sloan. Copyright General Board of Discipleship. www.GBOD.org Used by permission."
Monday, March 14, 2011
Even Scholars Don't Always Get It Right Away, a Reflection on John 3:1-9
Repeat from earlier year: