John 3:1–17 (NRSV)
Chapter 3Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. Verse 2He 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." Verse 3Jesus answered him, "Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above." Verse 4Nicodemus 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?" Verse 5Jesus answered, "Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. Verse 6What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Verse 7Do not be astonished that I said to you, 'You must be born from above.' Verse 8The 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." Verse 9Nicodemus said to him, "How can these things be?" Verse 10Jesus answered him, "Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things? Verse 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. Verse 12If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? Verse 13No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. Verse 14And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, Verse 15that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. Verse 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. Verse 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.
Luther Seminary grads are educated to lead Christian communities “called and sent to witness to salvation through Jesus Christ and serve in God’s world.” In John’s Gospel, salvation means life, eternal life, life in God’s kingdom, abundant life, starting now and continuing in the resurrection. The joy is not in how mortals get into heaven, but in both the physical life God gave in creation and the life in the Spirit. Eternal life is given to us now and forever in relationship with God, the source of life. Jesus is God’s way of loving us, our communities of faith, and the world. For life.
This is God’s mystery: “the Word became flesh and lived among us” (1:14). There is no way for us earthly humans to ascend to God’s spiritual realm. But with Nicodemus, we ponder the amazing truth. God so loved, God gave, and God sent Christ Jesus to us, for us, for the world.
Blessed are you Lord God, creator of the universe. You have so loved the world in Christ Jesus to give light and life to us, your earthly children. Warm our hearts, illumine our minds, and empower us to live in your love, today and forever. Amen.