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Friday, May 29, 2015

"How can this be?" These words of Nicodemus continue with us as we prepare to celebrate the blessed mystery of a triune God this Sunday.

We could easily speculate on Nicodemus' reaction to the words of Jesus, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son ... in order that the world might be saved through him." Did it blow this teacher of Israel out of the waters to believe that God has a plan for saving the world?

My friends, Dick and Carole, have recently invited me to join an interfaith small discussion group to listen to people of faiths other than our own. For some of us who have come to know God through Jesus it is also exciting to learn that God has revealed Himself or Herself to others whose religions and cultures are quite different from our own. I am discovering the amazing truth that I have sisters and brothers that I once viewed as foreigners. On this week of celebrating a triune God, I look at the ways of God and I say with Nicodemus and Brandon and Isaiah and the psalmist and the Apostle Paul, "How can this be?" We have an amazing God.

Lover of the whole world, Savior of the whole world, help me to respect and listen to all of your children, my sisters and brothers. Amen.

Hub Nelson
Retired Pastor, Eden Prairie, Minn.
Master of Divinity , 1962

John 3:1-17 (NRSV)

1 Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews.
2 He came to Jesus by night and said to him, "Rabbi, 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."
3 Jesus answered him, "Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above."
4 Nicodemus said to him, "How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother's womb and be born?"
5 Jesus answered, "Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.
6 What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7 Do not be astonished that I said to you, "You must be born from above.'
8 The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit."
9 Nicodemus said to him, "How can these things be?"
10 Jesus answered him, "Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?
11 "Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony.
12 If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things?
13 No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.
14 And just 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.
16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
17 "Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

This God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.