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Monday, April 16, 2012

for Tuesday (April 17) Gospel: new life


Scripture: John 3:7-15
7 Do not marvel that I said to you, `You must be born anew.' 8 The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes; so it is with every one who is born of the Spirit." 9 Nicode'mus said to him, "How can this be?"10 Jesus answered him, "Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand this? 11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen; but you do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended from heaven, the Son of man. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life."
Reflection
Do you know the healing power and victory of the cross of Jesus Christ? Jesus spoke to Nicodemus of a "new birth in the Spirit" which would come about through the victory he would accomplish through his death and rising. The Hebrew word for "spirit" means both "wind" and "breath".
Jesus said to Nicodemus: "You can hear, feel, and see the effects of the wind, but you do not know where it comes from. In like manner, you can see the effects of the Holy Spirit in the lives of those the Spirit touches." Jesus explained to Nicodemus the necessity of the crucifixion, his atoning death on the cross, and the resurrection, his rising from the tomb on the third day, by analogy with Moses lifting up the bronze serpent in the desert which brough healing and deliverance from the curse of death.
When the people of Israel were afflicted with serpents in the wilderness because of their sin, God instructed Moses: "Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and every one who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live"(Numbers 21:8).
The bronze serpent points to the cross of Christ which defeats sin and death and obtains everlasting life for those who believe in Jesus Christ. The result of Jesus "being lifted up on the cross" and his rising from the dead, and his exaltation and ascension to the Father's right hand in heaven, is our "new birth in the Spirit" and adoption as sons and daughters of God.
God not only frees us from our sins and pardons us, he also fills us with his own divine life through the gift of his Spirit so that we may share in his glory. Jesus makes us a new creation through the gift and working of his Holy Spirit. His Spirit also gives us boldness and confidence to openly share the good news of the gospel and to defend it by our words and action, and to never be ashamed of the Cross of Christ.
The Holy Spirit gives us spiritual gifts, especially the seven-fold gifts of wisdom and understanding, right judgment and courage, knowledge and reverence for God and his ways, and a holy fear in God's presence (see Isaiah 11), to enable us to live in his strength as sons and daughters of God.
Do you thirst for the new life which God offers you through the transforming power of his Holy Spirit?

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