Scripture: John 3
1 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 Spiritgives birth to spirit.
When I was in 8th grade my level of cool went up a few notches. I transitioned from glasses to contacts and my braces came off. I had my hair spiked and found that I could strut when I walked. I was on the football team, dated a cheerleader and was still inducted into the National Junior Honor Society. I had the look, the brains, the muscle and the reputation. Of course had you seen my yearbook picture the year or two before this would not have been the case. Some how I had renewed my image. I was a new person and because of that I reached a new respect among my peers and of course the ladies. This of course would be short-lived, because as soon as I entered my freshman year in high school all my true dork came back out. There is something about being new. Jesus is making that same distinction to Nicodemus in John 3 (above). People who are truly from God are not who they once were. They have been reborn, renewed, regenerated. They didn’t become a baby again, but rather became a new creation. What earthly mothers produce is pure and miraculous. They bring a new creature, a life form to this world. What our heavenly mother (Holy Spirit) produces is pure and miraculous. She produces a new form of the old. She not only creates something new, but also takes what was once just flesh and brings it to a divine standard. When we are baptized into the water we come up with a divinity we did not have when we were dry. There is nothing magical or special about the water, the person who dunks you, or the words spoken over you. The great God Almighty does something truly unique every time someone is baptized. He clothes that person with a personal purity and communal Spirit that brings them instantly into a family of divine vision. Baptism makes you a blood relative through the Holy Spirit to those who have followed Christ before you, now, and to come. Only the Holy Spirit can act in such a purposeful way. Only the Son can through death and resurrected life bring salvation to the sinful self. Only God can creatively engineer a watery grave to bring about holy redemption. “For God so loved the world that he have his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
1. Describe your baptism or one you’ve seen?
2. How were you different after your baptism?
3. What gives you new life every day?
4. How do you continue to be reborn?
5. How can you this week glorify God through Divine actions?
©Michael Mercer, 2011