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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

be born anew



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 Nicodemus 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."

Meditation: 

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 explained 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 whom the Spirit touches with the peace, joy, and signs of God's power and love at work in them.

The "lifting up" of the Son of Man:
Jesus explained to Nicodemus that the "Son of Man" must be "lifted up" to bring the power and authority of God's kingdom to bear on the earth. The title, "Son of Man," came from the prophet Daniel who describes a vision he received of the Anointed Messiah King who was sent from heaven to rule over the earth (Daniel 7:13-14). 

Traditionally when kings began to reign they were literally "lifted up" and enthroned above the people. Jesus explains to Nicodemus that he will be recognized as the Messiah King when he is "lifted up" on the cross at Calvary. 

Jesus died for his claim to be the Messiah King sent by the Father to redeem, heal, and reconcile his people with God.

Jesus points to a key prophetic sign which Moses performed in the wilderness right after the people of Israel were afflicted with poisonous serpents. Scripture tells us that many people died in the wilderness because of their sin of rebellion towards Moses and God. 

Through Moses' intervention, God showed mercy to the people and instructed Moses to "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). 

This miraculous sign was meant to foreshadow and point to the saving work which Jesus would perform to bring healing and salvation to the world.

New birth in the Spirit:
The bronze serpent which Moses lifted up in the wilderness 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 and working of his Spirit who dwells within us.

The Holy Spirit gives us spiritual power and 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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