Ep.080: Born Again.

Hello, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray With Me”. 

In John chapter 3, Nicodemus visits Jesus at night. As a religious man and a ruler of the Jews, he is drawn to Jesus’ miracles. He likes what Jesus does. But his colleagues in Jewish religion and politics see Jesus as a scammer. They wouldn’t dialog with him; it was easier to disapprove and criticize. 

Though Nicodemus understood their dislike of Jesus,he also felt God’s beauty in Jesus’ teaching and miracles. Jesus’ religion differed from that of Nicodemus and his associates, because Jesus had something deeper than dry interpretations of scripture and detailed codes of conduct . Somehow, God’s life and goodness splashed out in Jesus’ actions and touched Nicodemus’ heart. So he went at night, when no one would see, asking Jesus to explain. 

Nicodemus said, “We know you are a teacher from God, because of your miracles” (John 3:2). Jesus replied, It’s not religion and culture that bring the life of God. You have to be born again.

Nicodemus said, “What? That’s impossible! I can’t get back into my mother’s womb and start over.” 

Jesus replied, “Don’t be so literal. You need to be reborn in your spirit, you need to become free like the wind. The wind blows where it pleases, you hear it, but you can’t tell where it comes from or where it’s going.” Jesus did not offer Nicodemus a new interpretation of scripture or a new list of rules. Instead, he offered Nicodemus a form of religion born in the spirit, full of freedom and refreshment and life. Nicodemus was deeply attracted by this possibility. But he was not prepared to give up his rigid interpretation of scripture, his morality-based religion, and his influential social circle. 

Does your religion fill you with freedom and refreshment and life? My religion is often dry and insipid and powerless. Perhaps you and I need to come to Jesus at night, like Nicodemus did. .  

Let’s pray. 

Jesus, we are Nicodemus. We are evangelicals with rigid doctrines based on literal interpretations of scripture. We have become like our doctrine–rigid and legal and right. Like Nicodemus, we are stuck in our religious culture.  

But when we are honest, we find much of it is hollow. Our lives are not like the wind–rich with vitality and freedom and refreshment. We are earth bound, walking in the dirt of sin, barely a step ahead of anger and envy and lust. Jesus, we are living the bad news of behavior management, not the good news of life that is spirit and wind. 

Yes, we are Nicodemus, mired in a formal religion that does not transform our lives. Like Nicodemus, we are attracted to you, we come to you, saying, “Show us something better. Surely there must be more.” O Jesus, Savior, blow the wind of the spirit through our lives. Replace our suffocating religion of dry dogma with the movement of your Spirit and the fresh breeze of your presence..

O Jesus, give us every day the gift of a new beginning, the gift of being born of the Spirit. 

Amen. 

I’m Daniel on the channel “Pray with Me”.

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