Understanding Holy Mystery

John 3:1-17


Nicodemus comes to Jesus with a vague idea of who Jesus is. “I think I see in you something so deep that I can’t fathom it.”

Jesus replies, “What you’re seeing is a glimpse of the kingdom of God. But, you’ll need the help of the Spirit to understand it.”

Nicodemus is listening on a literal level. He pushes on the literal meaning
of a word that can mean both, “born again” and “born from above.” He’s arguing how someone can be born again from their mother’s womb.

But, Jesus is speaking in spiritual terms: not born again, literally. “Come on, Nic, you’re a teacher! I’m speaking about being spiritually born.”

All he can do is stand there with his mouth open and that deer in the headlights look.

“Okay, look at it this way.” And Jesus describes Spirit or God’s Breath using wind as a metaphor. You can feel the wind. You can hear the wind. But you don’t know exactly where it comes from nor where it’ll go. “The Spirit works the same way. Don’t try to figure her out.”

Nicodemus closes his mouth and blinks his eyes. He’s still on that literal plain. “How can that be?”

For a learned teacher, he’s not very bright. And I know how that feels. Sure, I understand a lot about the Bible. I can see God’s love at work. God’s broken heart; God’s people attempting to make it right only to mess it up.

But, I don’t completely understand why bad things happen to good people. I don’t know why babies are born to bad parents while good people are left barren. I don’t understand why poverty will always be with us or why peace on earth is still a vision rather than reality.

All too often, aren’t we Nicodemus with that blank stare and our literal minds
not able to comprehend?

So Jesus turns to those who are listening in on the conversation, including you and me. “We speak,” he says. “We testify, but you all don’t get it. You’ll need to start slow, learn the easy stuff and build to the more complicated.

“But if you want to know the core of my teaching, here it is:
God so loved the world
God gave the Son
That whoever believes
Won’t die
But will live.”

God, the great lover of all time did this for us.

So while our idols of money or politics or material possessions…
While our anger, our worry, our need to control…
Whatever gets in the way of our worship and love of God…

Well, know this. Jesus came with Good News. He didn’t come to condemn;
we’re condemned already if we are of the world and choose the darkness.

Jesus came to show us that not even death can stop God from acting in and
loving this world.

So, to the Nicodemus in all of us, there’s no need to worry. The Spirit will speak when she’s ready. Our job to is try and remain open to what she has to say.

Father, Son, Holy Spirit
Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer
Love, Offering, Presence

This Trinitarian God is at work 24/7 to
love and
be an offering and
a presence in the world.

All glory and honor be to God.


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