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April 17, 2012 – Tuesday of the Second Week of Easter. The reading is from Gospel of John 3:7-15

Nicodemus with Jesus in the night by Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn

Nicodemus  (continued) – John 3:7-15

[Jesus said to Nicodemus] “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.”

Nicodemus answered and said to him, “How can this happen?”

Jesus answered and said to him, “You are the teacher of Israel and you do not understand this?

Amen, amen, I say to you, we speak of what we know and we testify to what we have seen, but you people do not accept our testimony.

If I tell you about earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things?

No one has gone up to heaven except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man.

And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”

Today’s reading is a continuation of yesterday’s.

  • Do not be amazed that I told you, ‘You must be born from above.’ (John 3:7)

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.

  • “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.” (John 3:8)

The Greek word pneuma (as well as the Hebrew rûah) means both “wind” and “spirit.” In the play on the double meaning, “wind” is primary.

  • And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, (John 3:14)

Moses ‘lifted up the serpent‘ here relates to the episode of “The Bronze Serpent” in the desert (Numbers 21:8-9):

From Mount Hor they set out by way of the Red Sea, to bypass the land of Edom, but the people’s patience was worn out by the journey; so the people complainedd against God and Moses, “Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in the wilderness, where there is no food or water? We are disgusted with this wretched food!”

So the LORD sent among the people seraph serpents, which bite the people so that many of the Israelites died.

Then the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned in complaining against the LORD and you. Pray to the LORD to take the serpents from us.”

So Moses prayed for the people, and the LORD said to Moses: “Make a seraph and mount it on a pole, and everyone who has been bitten will look at it and recover.

Accordingly Moses made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole, and whenever the serpent bit someone, the person looked at the bronze serpent and recovered.

John by using the verb “lift” implies glorification. Jesus, exalted to glory at his cross and resurrection, represents healing for all.

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