Inspired by John 3:1-13
“Jesus answered him, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.’ 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?’” John 3:3-4 (NRSV)
God created us as intelligent beings, and endowed us with a natural curiosity and the ability to reason logically. However such gifts are only part of what enables us to understand the world around us. There’s much in our lives that cannot be precisely measured, analyzed, or observed, and the language we use to describe such experiences cannot be understood literally.
Nicodemus was a learned man, a Pharisee schooled in the laws of Moses and the ways of the God of Israel, and he was trying to understand who Jesus was. But Jesus’ words and actions defied Nicodemus’ understanding, and when he tried to reason it out logically and literally, he was left with the ridiculous notion of a grown man having to somehow enter his mother’s womb and be born a second time in order to see the kingdom of God.
But the kingdom of God is not bound by the laws of physics, and therefore cannot be observed through scientific study. The kingdom of God is one of those experiences that cannot be precisely measured or analyzed, nor can it be understood in literal terms. But the God of heaven does not leave us to our own rational devices to understand him. God has sent us his Son and his Spirit to reveal what is hidden, and to bridge the gap between our understanding and our acceptance. We do not necessarily need to understand something in order to accept its truth; it just is. And the kingdom of heaven is like that.
Nicodemus wasn’t trying to mock Jesus or trap him with logic; he was earnestly trying to understand with the gift of reasoning that God had given him. And Jesus patiently explained that which cannot be explained, and though Nicodemus probably never did fully understand, he did eventually grow to accept the truth of Jesus enough to risk his own reputation in order to prepare Jesus’ body for burial.
Let us pray. Patient God, your kingdom transcends rational thought. Grant us the wisdom to know when to abandon logic for faith, that we may embrace your truth. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.