Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
In our Gospel reading for today, Nicodemus, a Pharisee, comes to Jesus. He seems to be seeking answers to serious questions. In John 3:1 he comes at night. He doesn’t want to be seen. He asks questions about where real life comes from. What is the center of Jesus’ teaching? These seem to be very genuine questions.
Jesus treats him gently. He doesn’t condemn him and send him away. We notice that every time Jesus is confronted by someone who really wants to know how to trust God, how to find forgiveness and life, he is gentle. He brings answers, even if those answers are hard. On the contrary, when Jesus is confronted by someone who wants to entrap him or discredit him, he hits back quite forcefully. Jesus speaks to Nicodemus gently, but he does tell him a hard truth.
Nicodemus, you are trusting yourself. You think you are mature and self-sufficient. You think you are wise. You need to look to God as the author and sustainer of all. You need to give up your own hopes at wisdom and strength. You need to allow God the Son to bring you eternal life. This is God’s love. It is embodied in the fact that you believe in Jesus rather than in yourself. It is a saving love.
If we come to Jesus with the same questions as Nicodemus, he will give us the same answer. He will tell us that we are warmly welcomed to believe in him and to trust that he is the giver of life. This is the Gospel of the Lord.
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