Jesus answered, “I assure you, unless someone is born anew, it’s not possible to see God’s kingdom.”.
He didn't see it coming! Nicodemus - apparently interested in a friendly, intelligent conversation with a rising Jewish star (and a possible threat to the authority of the Sanhedrin) - completely misses the compliment that Jesus pays him.
Or does he? As a member of a very elite group of religious scholars and leaders Nicodemus is no stranger to nuance and subtlety.
Jesus owns the observation that Nicodemus makes about him. He is a healer and effective preacher and leader and, "Yes!" he is from God!
Nicodemus dodges Jesus' affirmation that only one who is living a new life can recognize God at work.
Jesus is willing to take the good news about himself all the way to the cross. Talk about the cost of one's convictions!
Nicodemus, in this moment, must be aware that to receive his own good news from Jesus he risks more than he is willing to concede for his own budding suspicions about the full reality of Jesus and integrity of his mission.
Prayer: God, whenever I come to you in prayer, whenever I read from your Word, whenever I join with others in the deep work of compassion, I cannot escape the realization that You seek and find and love me yet again! This knowledge is too much for me. If this is true (and I know in my bones that it is) then I feel compelled to respond in grateful obedience, obedience that will cost me even more of my illusions, delusions, and innocence. Grant - with your gifts of love revealed - the grace to be courageous in the moment, to receive Your divine affirmations with joy and to let them change me for good, forever. Amen.