There was a man of the Pharisee sect, Nicodemus, a prominent
leader among the Jews. Late one night he visited Jesus and said,
'Rabbi, we all know you're a teacher straight from God. No one
could do all the God-pointing, God-revealing acts you do if God
weren't in on it."
Jesus said, "You're absolutely right. Take it from me: Unless
a person is born from above, it's not possible to see what I'm
pointing to--to God's kingdom."
"How can anyone," said Nicodemus, "be born who
has already been born and grown up? You can't re-enter your mother's
womb and be born again. What are you saying with this born-from-above'
Jesus said, "You're not listening. Let me say it again.
Unless a person submits to this original creation--the 'wind
hovering over the water' creation, the invisible moving the visible,
a baptism into a new life--it's not possible to enter God's kingdom.
When you look at a baby, it's just that: a body you can look
at and touch. But the person who takes shape within is formed
by something you can't see and touch--the Spirit--and becomes
a living spirit.
"So don't be so surprised when I tell you that you have
to be 'born from above'--out of this world, so to speak. You
know well enough how the wind blows this way and that. You hear
it rustling through the trees, but you have no idea where it
comes from or where its headed next. That's the way it is with
everyone 'born from above' by the wind of God, the Spirit of
Nicodemus asked, "What do you mean by this? How does this
Jesus said, "You're a respected teacher of Israel and you
don't know these basics? Listen carefully I'm speaking sober
truth to you. I speak only of what I know by experience; I give
witness only to what I have seen with my own eyes. There is nothing
second-hand here, no hearsay Yet instead of facing the evidence
and accepting it, you procrastinate with questions. If I tell
you things that are plain as the hand before your face and you
don't believe me, what use is there in telling you of things
you can't see, the things of God?
"No one has ever gone up into the presence of God except
the One who came down from that Presence, the Son of Man. In
the same way that Moses lifted the serpent in the desert so people
could have something to see and then believe, it is necessary
for the Son of Man to be lifted up-and everyone who looks up
to him, trusting and expectant, will gain a real life, eternal
"This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son,
his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be
destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting
life. God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely
to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was.
He came to help, to put the world right again.
<The Message >
What is Jesus pointing at? What is Jesus pointing at? What is
Jesus pointing at?
And what are you pointing at?
There used to be an old tradition of having both a public and
a private name. One way of understanding that is that there is
a power which can be applied over names and those who carry such.
The power of death is over the public name, everyone dies. But
if one's private name is kept for friends and lovers, death has
no entrance and no power here.
We are shaped by the names we have. Do you have only a public
name or do you have also a name from the living Spirit? My prayer
is that your name which is formed by "something you cannot
see or touch" will continue to be a blessing to you and
It is this secret name which allows you to follow the blowing
To get back to the first point about what is being pointed at
-- here is an image of that presence of GOD -- GOD didn't go
to all the trouble of sending Jesus merely to point an accusing
finger, telling the world how bad it is. Jesus and you and I
are here to help put the world right again, but not by destruction.
Homepage | Sermon Prep