Date: March 12, 2017
“AGAINST THE WIND”
SCRIPTURE: GENESIS 12: 1
4a; JOHN 3: 1
GRACE COVENANT PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, ASHEVILLE, NC
March 12, 2017
The Rev. Dr. Marcia Mount Shoop, Pastor
3 Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews.
night and said to him, ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for
no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.’
him, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God wit
hout being born from
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?’
Jesus answered, ‘Very truly, I
tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without bein
g born of water and Spirit.
is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Do not be astonished that
I said to you, “You
must be born from above.”
The wind blows where it chooses, and you
hear the sound of it, but you do no
t know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with
everyone who is born of the Spirit.’
Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can these things be?’
Jesus answered him, ‘Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these
ly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet
do not receive our testimony.
If I have told you about earthly things and you do not
believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things?
No one has ascende
heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.
And just as Moses
lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
believes in him may have eternal life.
(Choir Sing 16
‘For God s
o loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in
him may not perish but may have eternal life.
‘Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that
the world might be saved through him.
he Word of the Lord
Thanks be to God.
Look around you, friends.
You may just be sitting next to a Nicodemus. Or the person next to you may be!
Nicodemus is one of my favorite people
I feel like I know him so well.
He’s a man who has official status in his community
well respected, sincere. He’s a
a man who knows his stuff. And he’s a man who knows he still has
There something endearing about a
person who knows a whole lot, but who knows there is
more to learn.
Nicodemus sounds like a fine upstanding Presbyterian!
He’s a faithfu
l man seeking understanding.
But, even with all h
is earnestness, there are
some things about Nic
odemus that are
at least a little fearful. W
e can’t blame him. There’s a lot to lose when you’ve got a
stable place in the community
when you know where you fit and you have what you
Nicodemus is a little tentative
re how to satisfy his cur
iosity. Not sure he is ready
let go of the way he sees things.
He goes to see Jesus in the ni
we’re not sure exactly why. M
he was afraid of
being seen. Afraid people would question why
he was cozying up with this Jesus
people were war
y of, especially people like Nicodemus
aybe that took more courage
going in the night.
I wonder if you or I would go and see Jesus in the dark of night
when we are the most
vulnerable, when things look the wors
t, when we feel alone
The night has
a way of making things seem
would you or I have the courage to face our fears
and go to see this Jesus?
Maybe Nicodemus is fearful and maybe he is courageous
maybe he is ready for something
new. Maybe he’s ready to venture into th
e shadows and find God there.
begins with appreciative comments when he gets to Jesus.
Rabbi, we know
that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do
apart from the presence of God.