BORN OF THE SPIRIT [JOHN 3:7-15]
WHAT does it mean to be “born of the Spirit” (John 3:8)? Perhaps the best way to understand its meaning is to look at people who were born of the Spirit.
Before Jesus ascended into heaven, He to told His apostles, “When the Holy Spirit has come upon you, … you shall be My witnesses” (Acts 1:8). The disciples to whom Jesus made this wonderful promise were a weak and fearful group and do not seem to have carried out any ministry while they waited in Jerusalem for the promise to be fulfilled. But when the Holy Spirit came upon them at Pentecost, they were transformed into bold and fearless witnesses. Ultimately they went on to proclaim the Gospel all over the world, even at the risk of death.
Similarly, Saul of Tarsus persecuted Christians until the risen Christ appeared to him and a Christian named Ananias prayed for him to be “filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 9:17). This changed the direction of Saul’s life. Renamed as Paul, he became a fearless witness to Jesus, suffering and eventually dying for his faith.
Saint after saint, believer after believer throughout the history of the Church has been transformed by the Holy Spirit. Like the first disciples, we are often timid when it comes to sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Perhaps this is because we rely on our own power rather than the power of the Holy Spirit – not unlike expecting a computer to operate when we have not plugged it into an electrical outlet. However, the good news is that the same Spirit who came upon the apostles and upon Christians in every age is available to each of us. The Holy Spirit wants to empower and transform us. Let us now ask the Holy Spirit every day to fill us and make us bold proclaimers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Jakarta, 29 April 2014
A Christian Pilgrim