Lent – Day 11: Monday, 1 March
5 Jesus answered, ‘Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, “You must be born again.” 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.’
Jesus was responding to Nicodemus, who’d come to him in the night. Jesus speaks of the two baptismal elements that John the Baptist alluded to, water and the Spirit. John baptised people in water as a sign of repentance. Jesus takes this further. The kingdom of God that Jesus preaches has an entry requirement that is met by being rebirthed through water baptism and Holy Spirit baptism.
Jesus tells Nicodemus that he must be born again. A water baptism signifies rebirth of the body, but spiritual rebirth comes from the Holy Spirit. The Apostle Paul, when he came to the city of Ephesus (the city of the book “Ephesians”), was concerned that some of the believers there had only experienced a baptism like that which John offered. Paul immediately offered the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which came upon the group after they prayed together. Read all about it here.
The implication is that all believers should be baptised in the same way. Jesus tells Nicodemus that a Holy Spirit baptism will take a believer into all sorts of places. Most mainstream churches seem to offer only a water baptism as a formal act of admission into the faith. I wonder what Paul would say to those of us who can only attest to a water baptism?!
Does Jesus’ statement in verse 5 still hold true today?
Who is the dispenser of the baptism of the Holy Spirit?
What part does the Holy Spirit play in your life?
Father God, would you open in my heart a longing for the things Jesus is talking about in this passage, and in my fellowship a yearning for all things spiritual as we present Christ Jesus to the world? Amen.
I couldn’t pick just one, so take your pick: