Spirit Gives Birth to Spirit
in Jesus’ famous discourse with Nicodemus (John 3:1-15), he tells the great teacher of Israel that no one can see the Kingdom of God unless he is born from above, born “again.” “That which is born of the flesh is flesh,” Jesus tells Nicodemus, “but that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” It was the Spirit which God breathed into Adam, making him alive (Genesis 2:7). It was that same Spirit that was lost in the Fall. Man was no longer eternal, but mortal.
But after his resurrection Jesus breathed the Spirit out into the apostles (John 20:22). The promise he had made to them in Matthew 10:19-20 was now going to be fulfilled. When the apostles of Christ would open their mouths, they would speak the Word of the Father, and by that Word the Spirit would be breathed out. Jew or Gentile, male or female, slave or free – everyone would hear the Word that gives eternal life, because that Word would breathe out the Spirit of God that IS eternal life.
But Jesus also told Nicodemus that it was those born of water and the Spirit who would enter the Kingdom of God. So when Peter sees the Gentiles confessing God’s gracious works – even in new languages! – he commands that they be baptized. Those who have faith in Christ need that seal of the Spirit, the promise of God in water and Word, that they are now children of the Father forever. The mark of the Lamb shows that what Adam once had, we now have again: the breath of eternal life on us, and in us.
Father, by the Spirit Christ has released into the world, keep us mindful that we are no children of time, but of eternity. Amen.