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April 16, 2012 – Monday of the Second Week of Easter. The reading is from Gospel of John 3:1-8

Notes: JESUS MAFA is a response to the New Testament readings from the Lectionary by a Christian community in Cameroon, Africa. Each of the readings were selected and adapted to dramatic interpretation by the community members. Photographs of their interpretations were made, and these were then transcribed to paintings. See: http://www.jesusmafa.com and http://www.SocialTheology.com.

Nicodemus – John 3:1-8

Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. He came to Jesus at night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God, for no one can do these signs that you are doing unless God is with him.”

Jesus answered and said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.”

Nicodemus said to him, “How can a person once grown old be born again? Surely he cannot reenter his mother’s womb and be born again, can he?”

Jesus answered, “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of flesh is flesh and what is born of spirit is spirit.

Do not be amazed that I told you, ‘You must be born from above.’ The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.

This scene that takes place in Jerusalem at Passover exemplifies the faith engendered by signs.

  • While he was in Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, many began to believe in his name when they saw the signs he was doing. (John 2:23)

It continues the self-manifestation of Jesus in Jerusalem begun in John 2. In this narrative Jesus tells Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, most likely a member of the Jewish council, the Sanhedrin, on the necessity of a new birth from above.

  • Jesus answered and said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” (John 3:3)

The Greek adverb anōthen means both “from above” and “again.” Jesus means “from above” but Nicodemus misunderstands it as “again.” This misunderstanding serves as a springboard for further explanation by Jesus.

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