John 3: 5 Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. 6 What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’  

A bit earlier, Jesus had confounded Nicodemus by saying “no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above”. Nicodemus seems to have taken that literally, or more likely, just wanted to get Jesus to be clearer as to the meaning, and so he asked the literal, but truly nonsense question about how one who is old can be physically reborn from a mother’s womb. So, picking up on the reference to physical birth, Jesus responds in both physical and spiritual terms in parallel with one another.  We are physically born from the secure waters of the womb where we were safely enveloped in the watery fluid of the amniotic sac complete with its important nutrients, hormones, and antibodies – also protected there from bumps and injury. That was our birth physically – and we were pretty passive recipients of all we needed, including the gift of physical life itself. We were first born “of the flesh” said Jesus, but, in order to see the kingdom of God we also need to be born “of the Spirit”, “from above”. Both kinds of birth are pure gifts with which we are blessed by God. We have little to do ourselves with either of our births. But just as water is part of the physical birthing, so too is another water, the water of baptism, a sign of having accepted God’s gift of Spiritual life that begins the revelation of God’s kingdom to us.
Pastor Bill

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