Tuesday, February 10th

Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ 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.”  John 3:5-8


Jesus challenges Nicodemus with the prospect of change.  But this is more than a simple change in his thinking.  Jesus is challenging Nicodemus with the prospect of complete transformation.


Change and transformation are not the same thing.  You can paint a nice brown brick wall a vibrant bright orange.  But you still have a wall.  A hideous wall, but still a wall.


Much of the time, when we sense that we need a change in our lives, what we really need is a transformation.  But that is too hard.  So we settle for a change.  We buy new clothes.  Get a different hairstyle.  Move to a different job.  Get nipped and tucked.  Find a new partner.  We might think we’re moving on but really we’re just treading water.  It feels like movement but we aren’t really getting anywhere.


One of the changes that Jesus presents to Nicodemus is the challenge of letting go of control.  It is the realization that Nicodemus – although he is well respected, educated and probably wealthy – cannot work the needed changes in his own life on his own.  He must be born again, born from above.  He must understand that he is but clay in the Potter’s hand.


The transformation that Jesus is talking about is a gift of God’s grace, it is the movement of God’s hands upon our lives.  It is the Spirit, urging Nicodemus to a night time meeting with Jesus.  The Spirit, ever reminding him of what Jesus said to him.  The Spirit, there when Nicodemus shows up again in John 19 with spices for Jesus’ burial.  The Spirit that transforms Nicodemus from halting seeker to bold follower.


There is nothing wrong with rearranging the furniture of our lives.  New haircuts, new clothes, new jobs.  Such changes bring variety and excitement.  But often they are not what we really need.  What we really need is transformation – and that is not self generated change.  That is something only God can do.  Dare we ask him for such change?


Let us pray: Gracious Lord, you know us.  You know our lives.  You know every hair on our heads.  You know where we need a little change here and there.  And you know where we need to start all over, fresh and from the beginning.  Help us see where we need to be transformed and, by the power of your Spirit, work that miracle in us.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.


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