July 28, 2014
A Loving Challenge ~ Anthony B. Robinson
He came to Jesus by nigh and said, “Rabbi, we k now you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if god ere not with him.” In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again. From John 3:1-13 NIV
Welcome to the weird world of the Fourth Gospel, where conversations can give you the feeling of ships passing in the night. A religious leader, Nicodemus, dropped by for an after-hours conversation with Jesus. Two experts talking shop. “How do you do it, Jesus?” Perhaps Nicodemus hoped to learn Jesus’ secret and get some of that power himself?
Nicodemus did learn Jesus’ secret, and he was never the same gain. “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” Nicodemus was stunned and confused. He had wanted a little knowledge, maybe some advice – not a whole new life. Jesus said, “you must start all over again.” Jesus dared to challenge Nicodemus.
The thing about the challenges that come from Jesus is that they are rooted and wrapped in love. He challenges us because he loves us. Sometimes our love of others is empty of challenge or the invitation to grow. And often our challenges are short on love. “Those whom we would change,” said Martin Luther King, Jr., “we must first love.”
PRAYER: god, we affirm that you are still speaking. May we still listen. Amen
Taken from the United Church of Christ devotional, God Is Still Speaking: 365 Daily Devotionals, ed. Christina Villa (Cleveland: The Pilgrim Press, 2013), 223.