In order to understand today’s section of this Gospel, one must read the entire gospel. In this chapter of John, we find Nicodemus, a Jewish leader, coming to Jesus for spiritual direction in the middle of the night. Nicodemus wants to understand Jesus and his message. Why did he come at night? Was that a way of Mark telling us that Nicodemus was in the dark and wanted Jesus to shed some light on his many questions? Was Nicodemus afraid someone might see him? Regardless, Nicodemus came to the source for answers.
Jesus says to Nicodemus, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”
Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.”
Through this encounter, Jesus invites Nicodemus to begin anew. Jesus invites him to baptism. To leave his opinions, and certainties behind and try to see with new eyes. Jesus invites him to new life! Jesus says the same thing in his encounters with the Samaritan woman, the blind man and Lazarus in the cycle A readings. Jesus promises new life, a second chance, a starting over experience!
We receive the same invitation every Lent. Those preparing to be baptized receive this invitation. God never gives up on us.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. Whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done by God.”