“The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it but cannot tell where it comes from where it goes…”  John 3:8

“Are you a teacher of Israel and do not know these things?”  John 3:9

I am fascinated by weather; kind of a weather geek.  While I do not have a meteorological degree, I have worked in an Air Force weather station and know a little of isobars and pressure gradients, occluded fronts and cloud patterns.  So the other day I’m sitting outside and I felt a very nice breeze blowing.  And for some reason it occurred to me how little I knew about this breeze.  It was moving from the north to the south and was about five knots but besides that I didn’t know why it was blowing.  I didn’t know how far from the north it had traveled and how much further to the south it would continue.  Yes, I could feel it and I could hear its passing, but how much did I truly understand about this particular breeze; even with my greater than average meteorological knowledge?

Nicodemus is a man of understanding in his land.  He is a Pharisee, a ruler of the Jews.  Who’s Who in the Bible tells us that the Pharisees were the most powerful religious group among the Jews during Jesus time.  They were known for their observance of the Mosaic Law, although Jesus often rebuked them for being proud in their in outward “living” of the law but being spiritually dead to the law by lacking faith and understanding in God’s purpose for the law.

Nicodemus has questions.  So he came to Jesus.  Why Jesus?  Because Nicodemus had heard Jesus speak, he had seen the miracles that Jesus had performed and he starts off the encounter by telling Jesus that he knows that Jesus is a Rabbi (a teacher) come from God.  While Nicodemus has questions, he also believes in his depth of spiritual understanding and it is this that gets tested in Jesus’ response to Nicodemus.

For Jesus starts out with the foundational underlying truth:  “Most assuredly I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”  (John 3:3)  Nicodemus, in all of his wisdom and understanding, doesn’t understand or even try to understand what Jesus is talking about.  For he starts to refute Jesus by taking His words literally.  He questions how someone can reenter their mother’s womb to be “reborn”.  That is when Jesus uses the example of the wind, a very literal worldly experience to illustrate that if Nicodemus could not understand something as mundane and daily as the working of the wind, how could he possibly understand the holy and miraculous working of the spirit.

Okay, fair enough you say, but how does that effect me?  Great question.  You see brothers and sisters, in believing in Jesus Christ, most feel and can even point to, a time and place where they were born again.  A time and place where they made that fundamental profession of faith that has led to a grand awakening of blessings and faith.

But their can be a challenge/danger concerning how we think we understand how that conversion, the process of being born again works.  For instance let’s say that as I ponder my rebirth and I say “I know and understand how it came about.  Here’s what happened:

  1. I heard someone preaching the Word of God; Jesus Christ the Son and salvation through Him
  2. I believed on what I heard
  3. I asked Jesus to come into my life
  4. I was born again

Some might say, hey that’s how it happened for me too.  So what about my friend down the street whom I know who is not a believer?  I happen to know that he has heard the word preached as I have.  But he has not believed as I have.  He has not asked Jesus to come into his life.  He is not born again.  That must make me a person of greater understanding doesn’t it?  I am wiser aren’t I?  Bottom line, I am a better person aren’t I? I have the right to look down on him or her?  Hmmmmmmmm.

Is my understanding really accurate?  Was I responsible that the person I heard preach decided to take up that profession or that he was preaching that particular day?  Was it I who reached up to God first or God who reached down to me first? Why me God?  Why did You allow my spirit to be touched by Your Holy Spirit?  Isn’t the truth that I was (and am) a sinner like the rest? Hmmmmmmm.

If we are not careful, we will allow our “understanding” to lead us astray.  We may come to the conclusion that we are somehow responsible and deserving of our own salvation.  That it is not about His Grace but our greatness that has brought us to becoming born again.

But if I don’t have my understanding to fall back on; what is their?  Faith.  Faith that surpasses all understanding.  You see dear brothers and sisters; I do believe that God is my Heavenly Father.  I do believe that Jesus Christ is God’s Holy Son, my Redeemer, my Savior.  I do believe that I have been born again.  I do not understand the particulars of how it came about for me.  I do not understand why I was given the grace to believe in God’s Word and Promise.  I have no personal pride or boast in my conversion for, in faith, I believe it was all in and through God Almighty, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  But I am more thankful for God’s gift of salvation than I can ever express.  The same way I am very thankful for that morning breeze.

Our most Gracious Heavenly Father, we acknowledge that Your Wisdom, Your Perfect Actions, Your Merciful Grace toward us is far beyond our ability to understand.  Yet Dear Father, we humbly bow before You on our knees, praising Your Holy Name for Your Blessings poured out upon us.  Forgive us Merciful Father, we pray, when we rely on our own limited understanding and boast in our knowledge, our salvation as a reward for our own self-righteousness.  Give to us a right spirit of humility that we would accurately see our salvation as Your Gracious Gift.  So in response to that gift, we would live lives in praise and honor to Your most Holy Name.  In the Name of Jesus Christ we pray.  Amen