Devotions for the Week of March 12, 2017

Meditation for the Week of March 12, 2017

Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”  John 3:3

Nicodemus had been coming to learn from Jesus at night. He knew that the other leaders of the Jews weren’t happy with Jesus because He had pointed out that their self-righteousness couldn’t save them. Jesus shows that sin is always hidden just below the surface. Nicodemus wants to see the kingdom of God, so he seeks wisdom from Jesus.     Jesus presents a mystery to Nicodemus in these nighttime lessons: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus wants to see the kingdom of God, but he doesn’t know how. Jesus tells him that he must be born again, this time from above. Nicodemus doesn’t seem to understand right at first. He scoffs and says, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” To Nicodemus, this sounds ridiculous, even impossible.

And, if God has not sent His Son, this would be impossible. By ourselves, we cannot be born of the Spirit, born above, the way that we must be if we want to see the kingdom of God. Our Father had to send His Son in order to give us the birth from above that’s necessary. What is this heavenly birth? Jesus says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” The Holy Spirit combines with water in order to give a second, heavenly birth. This is found in Baptism.

In Baptism, God gives us the birth from above that we need. If we would enter the kingdom of God, we must be given this new birth. Baptism is the way in which we become God’s children. Like newborn infants, we realize that we are powerless to enter the kingdom of God through our own efforts and so we learn to trust only in what our God has accomplished through His Son. In Baptism, all that Jesus has accomplished, all that He has won for us through His perfect life, sacrificial death, and victorious resurrection is given to us. We’re born a second time, but this time as heirs in the household of God.

This is important to remember throughout our lives. Baptism isn’t a one-time event that’s in the past and stays there. It covers us every day. So when we’re faced with situations that remind us of how weak we are, when we’re facing trials and tribulations, when we’re down, when we see how unable we are to win God’s kingdom through our works, we simply need to be reminded, “I am baptized.” It’s there, in the birth of water and the Spirit, that we find our hope and our security. It’s there that we’re protected from the weapons that the devil wants to use against our bodies and souls. It’s in Baptism that we find an antidote for the silly thoughts we have about our own righteousness. We thank God that He has covered us with this great gift—the heavenly birth of Baptism!           

Our Weekly Prayer

Please consider praying this prayer as part of your daily prayers.

O God, You see that by ourselves we have no strength. By Your mighty power defend us from all adversities that may happen to the body and from all evil thoughts that may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.