By Mike DeVries
Nov. 18, 2009
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. -John 3:8
It was late one night when a Pharisee named Nicodemus came to
Jesus. Like many others, he had seen Jesus teaching. He had seen
the miracles. He knew something was different about this man, and
he had to know. Who was he? Who was he really?
In the course of the conversation that night Jesus tells
Nicodemus that he must be “born again.” (So much for Jesus making
everything easy to understand, right?) To understand the force of
this statement, we need to put ourselves in the place of
You see, for us, the term “born again” has all kinds
of images and theological meaning attached to it. For Nicodemus,
he had never heard of such a thing before. What could this all
mean? What on earth is Jesus talking about?
What we often forget about this exchange is that Jesus is not
finished after telling Nicodemus that he needs to be “born
again.” Jesus offers a glimpse of the mystery of what He is
talking about. “The wind blows wherever it pleases…”
What Jesus has to say is brilliant… and mysterious. The term
for “wind” and the term for “spirit” are one and same word –
pneuma. What Jesus is saying to Nicodemus is this: The ways of
God are mysterious, as mysterious as the wind.
You can’t fully explain it; you can’t fully grasp it. Trying to fully comprehend
the spirit (pneuma) is like trying to fully comprehend the wind
Somewhere along the line, we’ve fallen in love with certainty.
We feel that in order to “know” something we need to have an
ironclad understanding of the thing. Questions that are left
unanswered are seen as quests to be conquered. What results is a
reduction of mystery to formula.
What I find fascinating is that Nicodemus walks away from Jesus
without a clear understanding of what Jesus is talking about, and
that’s okay with Jesus. He doesn’t walk away with a three-step
formula for being “born again.”
The story, much like the point Jesus is getting at, is unresolved, a mystery that forces Nicodemus, as well as the reader, to walk away… thinking,
pondering, wondering, and searching.
Faith is a lifelong journey of discovery. Just when you awaken
to a new understanding of the depth of who God is, you discover
there is something still beyond. Its okay not to have it all
figured out. It’s okay not to have all the answers worked out in
a nice and easy package.
Apparently, seeing faith as an open-ended quest is okay. It was
for Jesus and Nicodemus.
If we had all the answers, it wouldn’t be called faith, now
Source: Home Word
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