February 21, 2019

The Surprising Spirit

John 3:1-17

“I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again... No one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.”

—  John 3:3-5

Jesus speaks with Nicodemus about being born again through the Spirit of God. He says, “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.”

“Nicodemus,” Jesus seems to be saying, “the Spirit is working in you; otherwise you would not be able to see the kingdom of God and its works of power.” And yet, twice in this passage, Jesus’ words go right over Nicodemus’s head.

Still, as Jesus explains his work as the Son of Man, his words to Nicodemus are clear: “Everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”

This leads into what may be the best-known verse in the Bible: John 3:16—“God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

That day Nicodemus learned about the Spirit of God, who gives new birth to eternal life—all made possible through the work of Christ. The Spirit gives us faith (belief and trust) in Jesus as Savior and helps us see that God loves us unconditionally and extravagantly. This is the way God calls us to participate in his kingdom, enjoying full life forever!

Father, thank you for your Son and for your Spirit! We pray that by your gifts of grace we may have full life with you and with all who believe in Jesus—and also with this world that you love so much! Amen.

About the author — Dale Melenberg

Dale Melenberg is a second-career pastor. He received a theology degree through Calvin Theological Seminary and a doctorate of ministry degree at Fuller Theological Seminary. He is married to Gloria, and together they have raised three sons and are enjoying their four grandchildren. Growing up in an immigrant community shaped Dale’s view of family, church, and community in a profound way that continues to inform his life-view toward kingdom living with God, neighbors, and the creation.

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