Daily Readings, Day Seven
October 4, 2017
John 3:1-10 (NRSV)
3 Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. 2 He came to Jesus by 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 do apart from the presence of God.” 3 Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. 6 What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ 8 The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” 9 Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?
Likely these two men are talking late into the evening, sitting out under the stars. Even though the party of the Pharisees was anti-establishment in some ways, perhaps this is a friendship that Nicodemus wants to keep secret. A whip-wielding, temple-clearing Jesus might have been a little much for Nicodemus’ social and career aspirations.
Jesus says: I am born of the sky. Jesus is from flesh, a son of a mother, just like anyone else. But he is also given additional life by God. God’s wind blows on him, and that is what makes him what he is.
Our English translations don’t want to sound too hippy-mystical, so they clarify their sense of what things mean now and then. Mainly, that’s a gift, but here we lose something. The words used here for Spirit and wind are the same word. The wind is a picture on earth of the presence of God, and the unseen God moves to us and in us and through and around us like wind.
And Jesus implies that God’s accessibility to us, even though unseen, is Religion 101. Nicodemus should know this by now. Jesus says this how the Kingdom of God works. What it means to be connected to God – to come from God and be with God and so to be able to say the words and do the things God says and does – is to welcome God’s wind blowing on you, to see how God is moving.
And it’s clear that Jesus doesn’t plan on being alone in this experience. It’s the inheritance of children of God. Nicodemus thinks that no one can do what Jesus does without being with God, and Jesus says: that is true, so everyone should be with God.
What character or power or peace have you seen in someone else before that you would like God to grow in you? Talk to God today about how the wind/Spirit of God can blow your way and connect you more deeply to the Source of what you’re looking for.