GSFA Devotional: Bread for Our Journey
Trinity 1 (6 June 2021)
TRINITY SEASON: The Journey of hope and maturity in the faith (John 3:1-17 )
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3) ESV
Trinity season is a season of hope, learning and Christian maturity. Our selected reading from St John’s Gospel Chapter Three introduces us to a man called Nicodemus who was a leader of the Jewish people, a man of wealth and privileges. He made a visit to Jesus by night and wanted to learn more about the Lord Jesus and his teachings. Nicodemus came under the cover of darkness, so that he could not be seen, but he also came under the darkness of not knowing Jesus. This worldly man of power and wealth opened himself to Jesus in the hope that out of the darkness of the night he would come to the brightness of a new spiritual understanding. He came to Jesus with no faith, but with a faithful curiosity. Out of the darkness of his life and religiosity, Nicodemus came to the Light of the World.
In our generation today there are many who are like Nicodemus – they are good and responsible people, but unfortunately do not understand who Jesus really is. May this season of Trinity be to us a season of taking a bold decision like Nicodemus to approach Jesus through his Gospel for deeper understanding of the secrets of God for our life.
The Lord Jesus Christ is always eager to help people who come to him. When people come to Jesus, he does not simply encourage them to add a few virtues to their lives, or subtract a few bad habits, but his aim is a total transformation in a person’s life. The Lord Jesus told Nicodemus: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (verse 3) ESV.
This means no one can belong to the Kingdom of God without being born again. Being born again is not something that any of us can accomplish through intellectual achievement or personal attainment. But it is only by being a true Christian who understands the ways of God. Jesus challenged Nicodemus for presuming to teach Israel without rightly knowing Israel’s God and the ways of God revealed in the Scriptures. The Lord Jesus asked him that: “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things?” (verse 10) ESV.
As Christian believers and leaders in Christ’s Church, we should see to it that our lives as well as our preaching and teaching should begin and end in the Word of God. Jesus encounters people and challenges them to move into a new relationship with God the Father through openness to the Son. The gift of the Son is the saving power of the new covenant which brings with it new life in the Holy Spirit. (Jeremiah 31:31-34 ; Ezekiel 36:26-27 ; Isaiah 35:5-7 ) This saving power is for any and all who receive and believe in Jesus.
God sent His Son into the world not for condemnation, but to bring light into the world and salvation from its darkness (verse 17). Openness to this light and the action of God in the Son is necessary. Nicodemus began a journey which saw him responding to and acting in the light of God at Jesus’ tomb (John 19:38-42 ). You need to be born again; Jesus waits for your response today.
The Most Revd Dr Justin Badi Arama
Archbishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan
Chairman, Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches (GSFA)