Take just one example, say, when Jesus told Nicodemus, “You must be born again.” This is the seed of an idea: life with God begins like childbirth. I’ve always been astonished that those who treasure the phrase “born again” rarely develop the idea beyond the moment of conversion.
Birth doesn’t happen instantly. Before the moment of birth there is the travail of labor. Prior to labor there are months of gestation. After the moment of birth, the infant is in desperate need of attention: a clean environment, warmth, love and food. Beyond the first few moments a new-born child requires the community of family and the commitment of a mother and father. In “real life” each of these elements are critical. Remove any one of them and the child’s development is in peril. Each of these ideas could impact how we share the gospel or disciple new believers.
Could Jesus mean all that in the simple phrase, “You must be born again?” Well, he is pretty smart. When he uses metaphor or parable, I believe it’s an invitation for us to meditate upon his words and ask the Holy Spirit for illumination.
Even the few suggestions above do not exhaust the possibilities that flow from meditating on this single image. Decades later His disciple Peter encouraged us
You have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.” ~ I Peter 1:23Peter moved from the image of new birth to a seed. The seed capable of generating eternal life is itself imperishable (you can read more reflections on the seed here).
If you’re looking for a meditation path this week, why not take one image from the words of Jesus and explore the possibilities over and over again. Take the whole week! You may find that God’s word is living and active, revealing practical wisdom for your life. Don’t be surprised if the Holy Spirit becomes your guide!