spirit gives birth to spirit

“And how can a man who’s getting old possibly be born?” replied Nicodemus. ... “I assure you,” said Jesus, “that unless a man is born from water and from spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God. Flesh gives birth to flesh and spirit gives birth to spirit: you must not be surprised that I told you that all of you must be born again.“ [John 3:5-6 Phillips]

Before 1975 I had never heard the phrase "Born Again".
Like many, I was a fairly religious person even though I had stopped going to church
Yet I had never read the bible - not even one of the gospel accounts.

So my reaction to this 'born again' phrase was similar to Nicodemus in this passage.
My understanding of such matters was purely cerebral - I had no clue about spiritual things.
So I understand how the Pharisee felt when Jesus began speaking of being born again.

Being born from water and from spirit seems to delineate natural from spiritual birth.
Interesting when you consider Jesus' own birth as told by the gospel writers.
In a sense he was born of spirit before his mother gave natural birth to him.

Jesus is unique in that respect as his mother was flesh and his Father was Spirit.
So it is that when we are born again we become like Jesus - albeit not at natural birth.
When we are born from above we have both fleshly and spiritual parents.

Thank you for the new birth Lord. I am blessed to have a Father like you.

... this devotion is part of the Red Letters series. Click here to read more.

spiritual understanding

“What right have you to order them out?” the Jewish leaders demanded. “If you have this authority from God, show us a miracle to prove it.” “All right,” Jesus replied, “this is the miracle I will do for you: Destroy this sanctuary and in three days I will raise it up!” [John 2:18-19 TLB}

It makes sense that the Jews questioned Jesus' authority here.
After all, he had just cleared the temple court challenging the way that they made money.
They felt they had a right to see some authoritative sign.

Such is the reasoning of many religious people when confronted by a prophet.
Inwardly they knew that they were doing something wrong.
But their greed and mental rationalizations trumped their inner understandings.

Instead of trying to comprehend what Jesus was saying they jumped to a conclusion.
In doing so they missed the entire point of why he was upset about their motives.
Perhaps things would have been different if they would have questioned him further?

Maybe Jesus would have told them that the temple that would be raised was that of his body?

Sadly their reactions are often those of religious people when the conversation turns spiritual.
People are comfortable speaking of religious rites and practices but struggle with spiritual things.
They are centered on external things when they should be focused on things internal.

Lord, help me to see and understand life through inner eyes.

... this devotion is part of the Red Letters series. Click here to read more.