By Jim Orcutt, Co-Founder of My Brother's Keeper

These personal reflections on the Monday gospel represent my insight of Christ’s message as viewed through the lens of my life experience. It is my hope that others will be inspired to reflect upon their views as well.
Date: April 26, 2019
April 29, 2019

Gospel JN 3:1-8

There was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.
He came to Jesus at night and said to him,
“Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God,
for no one can do these signs that you are doing
unless God is with him.”

Jesus answered and said to him,
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless one is born from above, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.”
Nicodemus said to him,
“How can a man once grown old be born again?
Surely he cannot reenter his mother’s womb and be born again, can he?”

Jesus answered,
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless one is born of water and Spirit
he cannot enter the Kingdom of God.
What is born of flesh is flesh
and what is born of spirit is spirit.
Do not be amazed that I told you,
‘You must be born from above.’
The wind blows where it wills,
and you can hear the sound it makes,
but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes;
so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Reflection:

“There was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.
He came to Jesus at night and said to him,
“Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God,
for no one can do these signs that you are doing
unless God is with him.”

The Pharisees were part of the ruling religious class. They were devout and lived strictly by obeying every religious law. Many Pharisees were frightened of Jesus because His message of God’s unconditional love constituted a threat to their belief that one must live by obeying every religious law in order to be in God’s favor.

But some Pharisees, like Nicodemus, were curious about this man Jesus who performed miracles such as no one had ever seen before. We know Nicodemus respected Jesus because he addressed him as Rabbi, a title that conveyed esteem.

“Jesus answered and said to him,
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless one is born from above, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.”
Nicodemus said to him,
“How can a man once grown old be born again?
Surely he cannot reenter his mother’s womb and be born again, can he?”

Nicodemus was thinking in human terms; his concept of being born was limited to the physical. He had no personal familiarity with the power of the Holy Spirit to move his heart to believe in something that could not be seen.

“Jesus answered,
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless one is born of water and Spirit
he cannot enter the Kingdom of God.
What is born of flesh is flesh
and what is born of spirit is spirit.”

Jesus knew Nicodemus to be a good man. But, He also knew that Nicodemus’ mind was “born of the flesh.” Nicodemus was locked into the idea that obedience to religious law was the only pathway to God.

Jesus was trying to lead Nicodemus to move beyond what was in his mind and to open his heart to the invading presence of the Holy Spirit.

For it is only when our heart has been set on fire with the Spirit of God that we are able to move beyond what is legally correct and embrace and convey the love and forgiveness of God.

“Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.” Prayer to the Holy Spirit



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