There is power around us, a windy day reminds us.
It’s windy today, where I live. (Not damaging windy, just breezy.) It made me think about what Jesus says to Nicodemus: “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8)
To enter the Kingdom requires a whole new life.
Probably you know that in the original Greek of this verse, the words for “wind” and “spirit” are the same – both are pneuma. The same word can also be translated “breath”. Nicodemus, a very bright guy, knows Jesus is making a play on the word.
We should back up a bit. Jesus started off with, “Unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (verse 3) Then he had said, “Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” (verses 5-6) He contrasts pneuma with “flesh”—so pneuma has to mean “spirit” here, since “wind” or “breath” would make no sense.
So this is all about being reborn. (As Nicodemus clearly understands, since he asks, “How can a man be born when he is old?” They are both talking about a figurative rebirth, and Nicodemus is justifiably skeptical that a person can really start over.) Being born means taking your first “breath”, your first pneuma. A brand new life starts.
Jesus builds on this implication: To enter the Kingdom requires a whole new life. You see, feel, hear the “wind” pneuma, but it’s a power you can’t control or even truly understand—however, your limitation does not diminish the power there. It’s the same thing for people born of the “Spirit” pneuma, he says. You may not be able to grasp how it can be, but that doesn’t negate the power evident in the changed life of those reborn.
There is power around us, a windy day reminds us. Naturally speaking, we’re all just born of flesh. If that’s where we stay, then the fate of all flesh awaits. If we will take the time, we can see there’s power around that we don’t control or even understand, and amazingly, we can be reborn, take a new “breath”, born this time of the “Spirit”. A miracle of the power (Spirit) of God—greater even than the miracle of a new life at a natural birth. Against every expectation, reborn when we’re old! And now, can you see it? The Kingdom of God!