Prepare to listen. Quietly pause and prepare to receive the Word. When ready, pray: Lead me in your truth, and teach me.
Prayerfully Read John 3:1-10
Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. 2He 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.’ 3Jesus answered him, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.’ 4Nicodemus 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?’ 5Jesus answered, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. 6What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7Do not be astonished that I said to you, “You must be born from above.” 8The 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.’ 9Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can these things be?’ 10Jesus answered him, ‘Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?
Nicodemus was confident about knowing who Jesus was. His first words to Jesus were, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God.” But then Jesus shook his confidence with a statement about being born again. Nicodemus took it literally and thought it was nonsensical and so he ridiculed, “How can anyone be born after having grown old?” Jesus patiently pushed until Nicodemus finally confessed his not knowing. “How can these things be?”
What happened after that is unclear. Nicodemus seems to have become a believer in the end (see 7:45-53 and 19:38-40). He took the journey necessary for any follower of Jesus, from knowing to not knowing to belief. We begin with confident knowing, perhaps even bragging about ‘being born again.’ But then one day the questions arise, and we realize our ignorance. Some of us, like Nicodemus, even ridicule the faith. But, if we stick with the journey, struggle through the not knowing, we eventually reach a place where our belief and knowing is far deeper, more meaningful, more faithful. We exchange not knowing, not for knowing, but for belief.
Where are you in the journey from knowing to not knowing to belief? Regardless, commit to staying with the journey.
Respond to Jesus
Jesus, help me own my own ignorance and learn to walk more and more by faith, not by sight and knowing. Amen.
Go live obediently in the world; live through your questions and doubts to belief.
Reflection on Scripture has been a constant in my life ever since I can remember. Reflecting on Jesus in the Gospels has become a necessity to get Jesus right. Join me in reading John to see Jesus more clearly this Lent.