By: Chad Hyatt
John 3.1-17
Reflection—v. 3 ‘born again’

The encounter between Jesus and Nicodemus is a contrast between conventional and comfortable religious practice and the revolutionary demand of Jesus. Nicodemus ticks all the boxes as a member of the religious ruling elite. He even recognizes where and with whom God is present. But so do the crowds in Jerusalem. And Jesus doesn’t trust them, either. His support is vocal—at least ‘at night’ and in a private meeting. But Jesus calls for radical transformation. He says, in essence, that human beings need to start all over again from scratch. Their perspectives are so at odds it is like Nicodemus and Jesus are speaking different languages. What is at stake between the two is what it means to be faithful. It isn’t enough to see where God seems to be and then do nothing more. To be born anew is to see God mightily at work, yes—but then to join full-on in the work God is doing. Our churches are nearly empty. And we’re scrambling to attract more people back to the faith. But our faith doesn’t stop with filling a pew. Jesus isn’t working Nicodemus for a capital campaign or calling him to deeper doctrinal development. Encountering Jesus in the Gospel of John is to stand face to face with the missional movement of God’s love: Jesus has come from God into the world in order to save the world so that we might be sent out in the same way and for the same thing. Anything less than that, and we might as well start over. Or as Jesus says, it’s time to be born again.

Prayer Jesus, you call us to find you in the fullness of your love for the world; we are born anew.

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