Faith Daily | 12 April 2021
PRAYER of the DAY - EASTER TWO
whose Son Jesus Christ is the resurrection and the life
of all who put their trust in him:
raise us, we pray, from the death of sin
to the life of righteousness;
that we may ever seek the things which are above,
where he reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
GOSPEL for the Day: John 3: 1-8
Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. 2He came to Jesus by night and said to him, ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.’ 3Jesus answered him, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.’ 4Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?’ 5Jesus answered, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. 6What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7Do not be astonished that I said to you, “You must be born from above.” 8The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.’
GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by Rachel McFadyen
Reading this passage, I have often thought that Jesus was a bit unfair to Nicodemus – “born again” isn’t at all an easy concept. We’ve been brought up with it, whether or not we would describe ourselves as “Born-Again Christians”, and we understand it to mean a total change of heart, of priorities and values – a change to align them with Jesus’ teaching rather than with the world and culture we live in.
Nicodemus had seen and heard of the works Jesus was doing, he believed that Jesus’ miracles came from God, and wanted to hear more. But at the same time, Jesus was challenging the established patterns of religion and temple worship, and Nicodemus was a respected leader of the Pharisees, a member of the Jewish Council, one who respected and upheld the established order. It was a major conflict for him to acknowledge that God might be working through someone quite outside this, someone who called the Pharisees hypocrites and overturned the tables of the money-changers in the temple, and even talked of destroying and rebuilding the temple! So Nicodemus came by night, hoping to be unseen: he was not ready for the scorn and loss of status which would result if he openly followed Jesus. Jesus will have been well aware of this, hence his words to Nicodemus about the total change of heart which would be needed if Nicodemus wished to “enter the kingdom of God.” It seems Nicodemus found this too hard, because in John 7:50 he is still a member of the Jewish council, though after the crucifixion he came with Joseph of Arimathea to put Jesus’ body in the tomb.
For us today, the challenge is the same: are we prepared to put God first, to follow Jesus at all times, without regard to the values and judgements of our culture and society? This is what God requires if we wish to enter the kingdom.
FINAL PRAYER: Paul Talec, France
Christ Jesus is here –
as on the first day;
here among us eternally,
as on Easter morning;
here with us for ever
as fully as on the first day;
here in our midst
through all the days of his eternity:
for he is risen!