Wednesday July 1, 2020
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.”
Nicodemus had come to Jesus at night to speak with Him. Jesus directed Nicodemus’ attention to the fact that you must be “born again” to even see the kingdom of God. The Greek says, “born from above.” It is a work of God, not of our human efforts.
What if being “born again” really means exactly that? Not born as something different, new, but literally being re-born, as the same person, but this time with the freshness of a baby. We often think we have to become someone or something different as a Christian. I don’t think that’s true. I believe we already are who God wants us to be, we’ve just covered up our true selves with dirt, and scars, and pretense, and effort.
God created us in God’s image, created us to be beautiful human beings, bearing the image of our creator. And instead of trying to be better, or trying to be like Jesus, we just need to be our true selves, born afresh, naked and needing the guidance of Christ. Jesus says repeatedly, “Follow me.” But he never says, ‘Become me.” I believe deep in my soul that God loves me just as I am. But I also hear God calling me to depend on him more, trust more, follow more. This means less effort, less trying to be better, and a lot more trusting God to work through me as I am, scars and all. Yes, we should always grow, improve, become truer to the person God created us to be. But we do that through and with God, not through sheer willpower.
What would it look like to be the truest version of yourself? How do we follow Jesus without trying to become Jesus?
Prayer for Today
Lord, I pray that I become rooted and established in your love. Together with all of God’s people, may I grasp how wide and long and high and deep your love is. Please fill me to the measure of all the fullness of God. May I share that love with others. In Jesus name, Amen.
The First 15
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