Monday of the 2nd Week of Easter
Discourse with Nicodimus
“Amen, amen I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born from above….born of water and the Spirit,” (v.3, 5). These words are Jesus’ answer to Nicodemus’ thought that for him Jesus must have referred to physical rebirth. The Gospel portrays Nicodemus as a defender of Jesus’ right to a fair trial (John 7:-51 and also helps to bury Jesus with honor. But for Jesus it refers to spiritually reborn. Jesus indicates to us that Christian life is like a new birth where we become a new creation. It is in this new life that we become sharers in the divine nature. In other words, Jesus is telling us that new birth was necessary to enter the kingdom of God. What is God’s kingdom? God’s kingdom is that society in which God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven. And Nicodemus does not understand this new birth which Jesus speaks of until after the resurrection.
What does this new birth or reborn mean? The new birth Jesus speaks of is a spiritual birth to new life and relationship with God as his sons and daughters. New birth is not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision but of God. New birth is to enter that society in which God is honored and obeyed, to live as His son or daughter and to enter into possession of that life which comes from God Himself, a never-ending life of love, peace, joy and freedom from sin and the fear of death. This new birth is made possible when one is baptized into Christ and receives the gift of the Holy Spirit. Therefore we can say that these words, “born from above” and “Born of water and the Spirit” can be a clear reference to the Sacrament of Baptism by which we are initiated into the Christian life. Baptism makes us new creatures of God. Like for example: from children of wrath, we are transformed into children of God.
To nourish this new birth that we have and grow as mature Christians an unknown author says that a person who starts a new life similar to that of a newborn infant can follow these Seven Rules that promote good health in babies and can be adapted and be applied to a Christian’s spiritual growth. Theses seven rules are:
- Daily Food. Take in the “pure milk of the word” through study and meditation.
- Fresh Air. Pray often or you will faint. Prayer is the oxygen of the soul.
- Regular Exercise. Put into practice what you learn in God’s Word.
- Adequate Rest. Rely on God at all times in simple faith.
- Clean Surroundings. Avoid evil company and whatever will weaken you spiritually.
- Loving Care. Be part of a church where you will benefit from a priest’s teaching and Christian gathering.
- Periodic Checkups. Regularly examine your spiritual health.
Last Easter, we renewed our baptismal promises. Let us remember them now and thank God for our new life in Christ.