Believe and Obey

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It All Comes Together

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It All seems So Weird

The text this week is John 3:1-17.  This, of course, contains the justly famous John 3:16, “for God so loved the world…”.  Yet the passage starts out oddly.  First, it has Nicodemus skulking around at night to find Jesus.  Obviously, he is nervous at being seen by the authorities.  Second, he asks Jesus some questions and gets some pretty weird answers.

Nicodemus acknowledges Jesus’s role as a teacher and Jesus responds by claiming that no one can see the Kingdom of God without “being born from above”.  This puzzles Nicodemus, he wonders how someone can be born again.  Do the need to crawl back into the womb to accomplish this.  Jesus responds by stating that one must be born again “of water and spirit”.  One gets the impression that Nicodemus wants to understand but isn’t quite sure of this Jesus fellow.

We Are Not Privy to the Plan

What Jesus is trying to drive home to Nicodemus is that there are lots of things we do not understand.  As an example Jesus uses the wind.  We do not know where it comes from or where it is going, yet we hear it and know it is real.  So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.  Much of what God is and does is simply beyond our comprehension.  We simply must hear God speaking to us, in the Scriptures and through those in our lives, and trust that His word is true.

Jesus is asking Nicodemus to believe.   He points out to Nicodemus that He has told him about earthly things, and yet he still doubts, so why would telling him about heavenly tings make a difference.  This is a good reminder about the fact that God has come down to earth as a human to live as one of us, and to proclaim God’s love through His earthly life.  As Verse 17 reminds us God sent His Son into the world to save the world.  What we need to believe is that God and the gift of His Son is right here on planet earth.  We do not need to understand every intricacy of all of this, we simply need to trust.

Working Together

The important facet of this passage is that Jesus describes a God with three persons.  This is the deepest mystery of the Christian faith, the triune God.  Again we do not need to know the intricacies of this three-in-one God to believe, and Jesus is not offering a detailed explanation.  What Jesus offers is the three-in-one God working together in harmony to communicate God’s love for humanity.

God created and loves the world.  God sent the Son who like Moses lifting the serpent in the wilderness (Verse 14, referencing Numbers 21:9), sees Jesus lifted (crucified).  Those who believe in Jesus will have eternal life.  God then sent the Holy Spirit to assist us after Jesus has returned to the Father.  All three-Father, Son, Holy Spirit, work together and complement each other to communicate God’s love of His people and invite us into relationship with God.  This should give us a clue as to how we are to complement each other and work together in witness to God’ love.

So, like listening to the wind, we are to hear the good and gracious word of God and trust in that word.  Trust that the three-in-one God works through all three of these persons for our good.  Respond to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit by giving witness to God’s love of the world.  Don’t worry about all the complexities involved, just believe, then obey.

Praise Be to God

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