Reading: John 3: 1-15
Nicodemus understands our human birth. All of us enter the world the same way. Being born, we become part of the human race. Jesus then speaks of another birth that must take place for one to “see the kingdom of God”. Just as Jesus speaks of new birth at two levels, so too can we “see” at two levels. The first is to see this world through God’s eyes, as the kingdom here on earth. The second level is to see or experience eternal life.
Jesus begins His explanation of second birth with the water. This is a concept that Nicodemus would be familiar with. Maybe Nicodemus even ventured out into the wilderness to be baptized by John. The baptism of repentance that John offered out in the desert was adapted by the early church to be more a baptism of belief. New converts were baptized after a long period of preparation. Over the centuries most churches have retained the belief that baptism marks one as a member of the family of God. In baptizing our young, we as a church are marking them as a child of God and declaring our communal intent to raise them within the family of faith. Thereafter the infant or young person is forever marked as a child of God, baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
The second birth Jesus speaks of is being born of the Spirit. At some point in a Christian’s journey, one chooses to declare Jesus as their Lord and Savior. This decision results in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, marking the point at which one is born of the Spirit. Once the Spirit dwells in us, our lives are made new. We are born again as a new creation. Instead of seeing through our old eyes, seeing the things of this world, we now see through God’s eyes. Instead of living for earthly things, we come to live for spiritual things and according to the will of God. We see community instead of just our self. We see others and their needs instead of just our own desires. As the Holy Spirit works in us to help us see the kingdom of God here on earth, we begin to bear the fruit of the Spirit, becoming more loving, caring, giving, and forgiving. We come to bear witness to Jesus Christ in the world. We are transformed day by day through the power of the Holy Spirit in us. Soon we begin to see the kingdom of God at work here on the earth as we allow the Holy Spirit to lead and guide our lives. Being born of the water and the spirit, we seek to bring God glory and honor in all we do and say. May this be our walk of faith this day and every day.