In the fourth century, Lent was understood as the time for catechumens to prepare for baptism at Easter, and baptismal preparation included meditation on John’s stories about the meaning of Christ for the baptized community (Nicodemus, The Woman at the Well, The Healing of the Blind Man, & The Raising of Lazarus). Our lectionary revives the pattern of proclaiming these stories as a way to interpret baptism and the new life of the resurrection. This Sunday begins with the first of four: Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus.
Through their conversation, Jesus offers Nicodemus (and us) the opportunity to be born again/anew. Nicodemus scoffs at or at least questions the possibility of this. Yet perhaps something shifted and the know-it-all religious leader learned something new along the way. For after Jesus death, Nicodemus went with Joseph of Arimathea to remove the body. He brought a boatload of spices to anoint the body. Three days later when Nicodemus heard that some of the disciples had seen Jesus alive again, I wonder if he felt born again.
+ Pastor Danielle