“You must be born from above” (John 3:7b).
Nicodemus the Pharisee is on the threshold of faith in Jesus. But the Gospel adds a small detail that tells us that he is still in a state of perplexity. Nicodemus comes at night so that no one sees him. It is simply too soon and too risky for him, a brilliant scholar of the Law, to be considered a disciple of this new hill preacher, Jesus of Nazareth.
Like Thomas in the Sunday Gospel of John, Nicodemus wants proof before committing to believe in Jesus. Under cover of darkness, he approaches him and recognizes that the many miracles and the power of his teaching are signs that Jesus must be of God.
Jesus engages Nicodemus and goes to the heart of faith. Unless he is “born again from above”, Nicodemus will not be able to enter the Kingdom of God. It is only through a baptism of water and spirit that this great scholar can begin again as a newborn to understand what God is doing through Jesus.
Nicodemus is stuck on the literal level: “How can a man who has grown old be reborn? Surely he cannot fit into his mother’s womb?” Jesus tells him that he is still in the “flesh”, whereas only when he is in the “spirit” will he understand what it means to be born from above. Faith comes like the wind. We do not know where it comes from or where it is going, but we know it by its effect in the movement in the trees.
We have given a 50-day Easter period to begin to grasp the need for a rebirth of our minds and hearts that will open us to the mystery of resurrected life in Jesus. The gift of Easter is not something we will experience only after death. It is for now, the second wind that elevates us to a new level of understanding and purpose. Come at night if you need to, but find Jesus and start the conversation that will change your life forever. He will welcome you whenever you look for him. Take your windbreaker and a hat.