How can we look at the biblical text in a manner that will convert or change us? I am going to define the Bible in a new way for some of you. The Bible is an honest conversation with humanity about where power really is. All spiritual texts, including the Bible, are books whose primary focus lies outside of themselves, in the Holy Mystery. The Bible illuminates our human experience through struggling with it. It is not a substitute for human experience. It is an invitation into the struggle itself: We are supposed to be bothered by some of the texts. ― Richard Rohr, Yes, and.… Daily Meditations
I wonder if Nicodemus got what he wanted when he came to a conversation with Jesus. I suspect he may have been hoping for a discussion, you know, two theological minds nutting things out together. Seeing what’s right and what’s wrong. Bros bonding over tough theological issues.
What happens? Let’s see.
Nicodemus starts with a bit of flattery, all socially quite acceptable: ‘Rabbi,’ he says,
we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.
To me, this is an open invitation to talk about business, that business being religion.
Nicodemus knows something about Jesus: he is ‘a teacher who has come from God’. He thinks that’s a good start. Yet it’s not enough. There’s a lot more to Jesus than this.
Jesus doesn’t want to indulge Nicodemus in theological banter, however learned; no, he responds to Nicodemus with something much deeper than a chat about God. Jesus confronts him with a word about his relationship with God:
Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.
What you’ve got right now isn’t enough, Nicodemus; you need to go from talking about God to talking with God. Thinking about God is good; allowing God to make his home within you is better.
It’s like being reborn.