Rebirth

John 3: 1-8
Acts 4:23-31 / Psa 2

You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.
(John 3:7-8)

Like the wind we can feel or hear it,
Yet we don’t know where it comes or goes.
So it is with the Holy Spirit,
How He tansforms us nobody knows.

Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.” In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” “How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (John 3:1-8)

Reflection

Nicodemus’ predicament represented the basic problem of the Jewish leadership: the discerning eye to see beyond the obvious; the wisdom to accept as real what could not be seen or understood. Jesus made him understand that he must ‘see’ things divine not with the flesh, but with the spirit. It was perhaps these words that led to Nicodemus’ conversion. When the Sanhedrin convened to discuss what to do with Jesus, he was the only one who questioned their obvious prejudice against Jesus. He said, “Does our law condemn a person before it first hears him and finds out what he is doing?” But his peers mocked him, saying, “You are not from Galilee also, are you?” (Jn.8:50-52) Nicodemus eventually became a follower of Jesus. Once timid and afraid (coming to Jesus in the cover of darkness), he was “born again” with a spirit of boldness, a stark contrast to the ten apostles who had run away when Jesus was crucified. Together with Joseph of Arimathea, another secret disciple of Jesus, he came after the crucifixion bringing about 100 lbs. of spices to prepare the body of Jesus for burial. (Jn. 19:39)

We have become intimate followers of our lord Jesus when we experienced being “born of the Spirit.” That is why we say we are in the renewal. Our life has been radically renewed by the power of the Holy Spirit. We have undergone a spiritual rebirth, and we cannot imagine going back to our old worldly ways again. However, this did not happen out of our own efforts or conviction. Our transformation was a gift from above. As we read in the letter to Titus, it is “not because of any righteous deeds we had done, but because of God’s mercy, Who saved us through the bath of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, Whom He richly poured out on us through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that we might be justified by His grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:5-7). Like Nicodemus who came from darkness to light, we have received a new life in the Spirit. And yet we did not have to die in order to be born again. Jesus had already done it for all of us when He resurrected from the dead. That is why we are celebrating Easter, because once we were dead, but now we have been given a new life in Christ.

Dear God, as we continue to celebrate Easter, we pray that Your Holy Spirit will complete our transformation. May Your Word be the rule in our life to serve others and Your Church here on earth. Amen.

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