Monday, July 16, 2012

New Experience

Romans 8:4
John 3:1-8

It's been a record breaking year around here, with temperatures frequently 20 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than normal. I realize that 100F is not uncommon in certain other areas, but then in those places people are shocked when their winter temperature drops down to 40F while around here it stays below 30F for about 4 months each year. They're not used to our cold; we're not used to their heat.
My husband took our daughters with him on an errand outdoors in 90+ weather. They were outside in the unaccustomed heat for about an hour and returned ready to drink lots of water. My 3yr had never experienced quite this level of heat and she looked to me to explain her puzzlement. With her little face pink from the heat and her body sweating as it tried to cool itself off, her first words to me on their return were: "Mom, I'm wet!" She couldn't figure out where the water was coming from since she hadn't been playing in a pool or sprinkler or bathtub! (I sent her immediately indoors to drink lots of water.)
Jesus offers us something entirely different from anything we've experienced before. No one can become righteous on his own; no one can become a new person on his own; no one can separate from the sinfulness of the flesh on his own. Of course Nicodemus could see the difference between Jesus and all other rabbis who had come before Him; He was as unusual as temperature from another climate and as new as your own body reacting in a way it has never reacted before. We've all heard about Jesus on one level or another throughout our lives, but Nicodemus and Paul were born at a time when no one had heard of Him yet. To understand how revolutionary Christ Jesus and His offer to redeem us is, imagine that you have never encountered it before. Think of how you would react if the offer were brand new. Pretend that you haven't heard about it a million times before and Jesus is presenting a complete change in your life that you never imagined was possible.

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