“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
John 3:16

From Our “Here”…

John 3 tells the story of Nicodemus, a Pharisee, one of the well-educated religious leaders of Jesus’ day. Mystified and intrigued, Nicodemus had observed Jesus’ ministry from the sidelines. Since the Pharisees wanted nothing to do with Christ, Nicodemus arranged a meeting with Him at night. Nicodemus heard the Son of God personally proclaim God’s love to him. Many of us memorize that immortal proclamation of God’s love in John 3:16.

But Jesus said other things that sometimes get lost in all the focus on John 3:16. Like this verse: “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit” (John 3:8).

Nicodemus was struggling with the notion of being “born again.” Jesus pointed to something going on all around us — the wind. It’s invisible and completely unpredictable, yet no reasonable person doubts the reality of wind. Why should being born again seem impossible?

In The Ascent of Science, Brian L. Silver notes there are about 100 billion billion molecules in just one teaspoonful of the air. Those molecules are slamming into each other constantly, each molecule experiencing about 6 billion collisions every second.

All of that activity is going on even when there appears to be no wind at all—screw a lid on a glass jar, and inside that jar every one of the 100 billion billion molecules in every teaspoonful of air will be bouncing away from the molecules around it some 6 billion times every second. In the total absence of a breeze, we experience those collisions as static air pressure.

“Nicodemus, you might find the idea of being born again a little hard to wrap your preconceptions around,” Jesus might have said that evening. “But try to understand a simple breeze. You can’t, but it happens all the time.”

…To God’s “There”

Nicodemus had no way of knowing it, but readers of John’s Gospel can learn right from the start that Jesus created all those molecules He alluded to: “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made” (1:3).

The Creator of the universe was describing His boundless love for His dearest creations in terms both simple and infinitely profound.

That’s the divine Presence still at work in every air molecule around each of us, and in our own lives when we reach out to Christ in faith and are born again. And our Savior expects each of us, in turn, to carry that truth to others still in darkness, whether near or far.

Making the Leap

John 3 is a wonderful passage to remember whenever we move forward in faith as participants in the Great Commission. The Savior who calls us to whatever variety of service He might ask of us, both here and to the ends of the earth, is the all-powerful Creator able to providentially arrange the seeming billions of life’s details as easily as He sets in motion the air around us.