Lenten Devotional for February 19th

SCRIPTURE John 3:1-17

Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He 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.” Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” Nicodemus 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?” Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ The 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.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?

“Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have internal life. 

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. 

“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” 


REFLECTION

My first reaction when asked to write a Lenten devotion was…uggghh. I haven’t spent much time over the years reading and studying scripture. Very far from it. As a result, it intimidates me. 

Nicodemus, referred to by Jesus as “a teacher of Israel”, was an academic and intellectual and member of the Jewish ruling council. He spent considerably more time than most studying and teaching scripture. Yet Nicodemus had trouble understanding Jesus’s message of what it truly means to be born again. 

When asked to write my Faith Statement as an incoming officer, I felt much like I did when asked to write this devotional. But the process was helpful, just as this one has been. In writing my Faith Statement, I arrived at “what would Jesus do?” as the foundation of my personal faith. 

I’m not giving myself a scripture hall pass–I’m committed to spending more time in that area. But reading this passage in John gives me the courage to continue down the impossible path of trying to do “what Jesus would do”, knowing that I will fail and fail often. I hope it gives you that courage as well. 

PRAYER

Dear God, thank you for giving us the courage to follow you despite knowing how imperfect we are. Amen

WRITTEN BY | George Climer

 

 

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