Devotional Thoughts for the 3rd Sunday after Denaha – 25th Jan 2015

In today’s reading we find the audience between our Lord and Nicodemus, a Pharisee and a ruler of the Jews. It is sure that Nicodemus had initiated for such an audience as he was so sure and certain about our Lord’s origin from God Almighty. In verse 2 we hear his confession about our Lord. He addressed our Lord Rabbi and said, “we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou does, except God with him.” One of the three main missions of our Lord was teaching about the kingdom of God. In the statement of Nicodemus, we could find two points. Firstly Nicodemus could identify Lord Jesus as a teacher come from God. Secondly he realized what was a miracle and its significance. In St. John 5:36 we read the words of our Lord. “But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father has given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father has sent me.” It is a great recognition that God has sent Lord Jesus to the earth and the incarnation to do certain works of the Father. Nicodemus could identify this great truth about Lord Jesus. God enabled him to realize and confess this great truth. We find a number of Jews who often gathered wherever our Lord went or preached and their main intention was see and enjoy the miracles done by our Lord. On many occasions they requested our Lord to show them some signs or miracles. For them, miracles was just like a sort of magic. In St. John 7:31 we read, “And many of the people believed on him and said, when Christ comes will he do more miracles than these which this man has done?” From this verse we could easily understand that miracles done by our Lord were simply supernatural signs and they were meant for their temporary satisfaction.
We have to understand that the miracles done by our Lord were simply expressions of the compassion and love of our Lord God. It is true that Nicodemus could identify the miracles of Lord Jesus so. That is why he could say that no man can do these miracles that done by Lord Jesus except God with him. When we study a miracle, we must realize God’s presence there. Then we must realize the love, compassion and mercy of our Lord God. A miracle is a sum total of His love, compassion and concern/ In these days, when there is no problem in our lives, we seldom look for God and His presence in our lives. When there is a problem, a faithful usually pray for a miracle, instead of praying for God’s intervention with His love, compassion and mercy. When in trouble we expect and long for sudden recovery and we often disagree to wait for God’s mercy and kindness.
Our Lord taught Nicodemus the very need for a spiritual re-birth, about which Nicodemus was ignorant till then. Our Lord insisted him to have a re-birth water and spirit and ultimately to inherit entry into the kingdom of God. While a new faithful is dipped into the water, he or she dies with Christ our Lord, when lifted up from the water, he or she gets re-birth. (Kindly see Romans chapter 6. As infant baptism is in existence, the candidates, boy or the girl is immersed into the water in the baptismal font, the candidate takes a new birth. When the child is lifted up from the water, he or she gets the new life, the real re-birth, identifying the death, burial and resurrection. Many of us are not sure the deep meaning of the sacraments including Baptism.
We use hot and cold water in the baptismal font on the basis of the traditional faith that our Lord Jesus had taken baptism at a junction of two branches of river Jordan, where one branch had carried cold and the other hot water. In the Middle East, we could witness certain springs with hot water, without any sort of external action or influence, In verse 10 we find a question of our Lord. “Art thou a master of Israel, and know not these things.” We should not expect such a similar question. Definitely He will ask us ”you don’t know these
things, as you were a member of the Orthodox Church.” So let us be prepared well.
May God bless us all.
Jose Kurian Puliyeril, Kottayam

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