KINGDOM AND GARDEN
Read: John 3:1-8, 2 Corinthians 5:16-17
1 “Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” 4 “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”5 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 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.” (NIV John 3:1-8)
“16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! ” (NIV 2 Corinthians 5:16-17)
Study: Jesus told his nighttime visitor, Nicodemus, that entering his Kingdom was like being born for a second time, like an act of creating new life. The apostle Paul echoed that, writing to the Christ followers in the city of Corinth that God called them to live as a “new creation.” Those links to the creation story evoked a connection between God’s power as Creator of all that is and God’s grace recreating our inner identities, and the attitudes out of which we live. Jesus said, “Unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, it’s not possible to enter God’s kingdom.” The Greek phrase was literally “not possible to see God’s kingdom.” A handbook for Bible translators, however, said that “In many languages… one must translate ‘see the Kingdom of God’ as ‘experience God’s rule’ or ‘be a part of God’s Kingdom.’” * How has God’s rule in your life given you a fresh start in life, one like being born for a second time? Or, what would it take for you to genuinely let God rule your life?
Pray: Dear God, you’ve made me a new creation. Help me to remember that, to submit myself to you today so that as I live among others, they too will be able to see you at work in me. Amen.