John 3:1-21 is the story of Nicodemus, a teacher, seeking wisdom from Jesus. There are not many stories of religious leaders and teachers seeking out Jesus. They already had places of prominence and power. Furthermore, they already knew what being a Jew and God follower were all about. Why would they endorse or follow a poor man who used to be a carpenter, and did not even come from Jerusalem or the Temple. But something caught the interest of Nicodemus. Instead of simply listening to Jesus around the fringes of the crowds, or arguing with him in order to discredit his message, Nicodemus came for conversation. Even more deeply, Nicodemus came to learn and grow.
Although still worried about his image and "career," Nicodemus comes to Jesus under the cover of night. During this night time conversation Jesus shares that for many people to follow God, they must be born into a different kingdom/nation. This image confuses Nicodemus, but I don't think it was the confusion of a toddler. Nicodemus was truly confounded, in my opinion, of how one makes this change. So Jesus continues by explaining that God's voice and will are being proclaimed by this poor son of a carpenter from Nazareth. He explains that doing good, being true, and living after God are how you become born again into this new kingdom. It's nothing magical or easy, but it is simple. One of these simplest things to do is be born again in God's kingdom. It's a choice, and a lifestyle, and a lifelong journey. It's not "easy" in the way of comfort, convenience, and efficiency. But it is simple - "do justice, love mercy, walk humbly with your God" (Micah 6:8). I wish that the Bible contained a letter in the New Testament by the followers of Nicodemus to see if he grew to understand this rebirth beyond that fateful evening conversation with Jesus. Do Christians today understand "born again" as a call to a lifestyle?
Events & Evites:
Tory - Pastor of Children and Youth Faith Formation.