A Question in the Night
New creation. Resurrection. New life. Born again.
There is a significant amount of imagery and description given to what takes place when we dedicate our lives to Jesus and receive the gift of restored relationship with our God. John Mark shared with our church body Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 5 this past Sunday which declares that we are now a new creation—remade into the image of God once again as we were created all along. And this is such an important theme and idea that we spend so much time dwelling upon and thinking about that we come to understand more fully who we are in God’s eyes as a result. We are washed clean. We are brought before the throne of God. We are made new.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus has an opportunity to talk about this with Nicodemus in John 3. Nicodemus is a Pharisee and comes to Jesus at night (in secret). Nicodemus wants to know what we all want to know: Who is Jesus? How is Jesus able to do what Jesus does? Is the Kingdom of God here now? And Jesus gives him an answer that many of us spend our entire lives discerning and reflecting on: “Unless someone is born again, it’s not possible to see God’s kingdom.”
Nicodemus immediately wonders and asks Jesus how someone could be born again. They can’t be, right? That’s impossible!
But Jesus isn’t talking about biology here. Jesus is talking about spirituality. Jesus is talking about life with God. Jesus is talking about choosing to give your life away to take up the life that God is calling you to.
Jesus is talking about that list of things that we began this blog with: new creation, resurrection, new life, born again.
Here’s the thing about Jesus’ ministry, his life, his death and resurrection. It is not just a path to heaven. It’s not just about an afterlife experience. Jesus wants us to live this life according to that life’s principles. To have a new life or to be born again means that we not only accept God’s Spirit but that we invite God’s Spirit into our lives, our choices, our actions, our words, our thoughts, our emotions—everything we have. To be a new creation is to be remade. The old is gone. The new has come!
This is what Jesus wants Nicodemus to know. It’s what Paul writes about in 2 Corinthians. It’s what we dedicate our lives to. We invite God’s Spirit to rest upon us. We invite God’s Spirit to convict us and change us. We invite God’s Spirit to challenge us and grow us. We invite God’s Spirit to lead us to action for the sake of the message of Jesus and the love of our God. We invite God’s Spirit to be active through us and in us so that all of creation can be made new. The Gospel story is a story that cannot be kept to itself. It is not just for us and our eternal afterlife. It is for all of God’s creation.
God is redeeming and remaking all of creation. And we, as newly born re-creations, who have the Spirit of God upon us, are inviting God’s Spirit to give this world a fresh start. We have been washed clean. Made new. Redeemed. Now, may we join in God’s work of doing the same for all of God’s good creation.