Reflections: May 30, 2021
By Jeffrey Horn
Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God." (John 3:5)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Nicodemus knew that Jesus was a teacher sent from God, but he wanted to learn more, so he came to Jesus at night. What he learned was greater than he could have imagined. For Jesus is not just a teacher sent from God. Jesus IS God. Nicodemus conversed with the very Son of God, who would teach him about the Holy Trinity. Nicodemus would never be the same. Jesus started by teaching about the Holy Spirit--the Third Person of the Holy Trinity. For Nicodemus to have eternal life in the Kingdom of God, the Holy Spirit must give him rebirth in Holy Baptism.
Nicodemus could not comprehend this, so Jesus explained more. During the Exodus, the Israelites complained against God, and God sent venomous snakes to bite them as a punishment (Numbers 21:4-9). In agony the people cried to God, who provided a way to be saved. Moses raised a bronze serpent on a pole in the middle of the camp, and all who had been bitten and looked at the serpent were healed.
Now in Nicodemus' time, the Son of Man (Jesus--the Second Person of the Holy Trinity) had come. People who have sinned against God and thus have earned death and damnation can look in faith to Jesus,lifted up on the Cross for their salvation. Whoever believes in Him is set free from the punishment for sin and has eternal life.
But Jesus had not come of His own accord. God the Father, the First Person of the Holy Trinity, had sent Him. God loved the world in this way--that He saved it at the cost of His only Son. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life. This faith is worked by the power of the Holy Spirit in the Word and in Baptism.
The Father sent His Son to die and rise again. The Spirit joins you to the Son through Baptism into His death, so that you are reborn into His life (Romans 6). This is why we are baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Three Persons, yet one God.
What Jesus taught Nicodemus, He also teaches to you. This eternal life is yours freely by grace, through faith in Christ Jesus. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Almighty and everlasting God, You have given us grace to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity by the confession of a true faith and to worship the Unity in the power of the Divine Majesty. Keep us steadfast in this faith and defend us from all adversities; for You, O Father, Son and Holy Spirit, live and reign, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for Holy Trinity)
-Rev. Jeffrey Horn is the pastor of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Escondido, CA.
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