Monday, March 14, 2011

story and promise John 3:1-17

I think of John 3:1-15 as the great back story that gets jumped over to get to one of the meatiest part of John 3: the promise of God's love revealed in John 3:16-17.

I say don't skip the story to get to John 3:16 because there's so much mystery in the story. A man named Nicodemus was looking for Jesus. The story gets more because mysterious Nicodemus came at night. Sue Whitt offers some reasons why Nicodemus might have chosen the night to meet Jesus. Maybe he chose night because he didn't understand. Or maybe he chose the night so as not to be seen coming to Jesus. We can guess all we want; but the story tells us no reason why he came looking for Jesus at night.

Nicodemus had questions. Jesus spoke to Nicodemus of γεννηθη άνωθεν being born from above and of γεννηθη εξ υδατος και πνεύματος being born of water and the Spirit. Nicodemus was stunned. He was wondering about the signs that Jesus was doing. Jesus did know why. The thing is Jesus' answers were far beyond his capacity (or any person's simple human capacity) to understand. Jesus said plainly, "Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?" John 3:10 NRSV.

The hope for me in this text this week is that God's at work in ways we can't explain or understand. God's at work both in the people arround us and in each one of us. He is at work through water and the Spirit bringing people to new life. There's hope for anyone in Christ of new life. Jesus comes that we might let go of the old and start new lives in him.

Pax, John

p.s. I like what I've written about John 3:1-17 before much better. Lutheran Digest republished a post from me on John 3:1-17 in their Winter 2011 print edition (it's not online yet as of March 14, 2011 at yet but you can read it as as an old post.

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