Advent: December 3, 2022

Ezekiel 36:24-27 (ESV) I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.

John 3:5 (ESV) Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

The Chosen is a fantastic work of filmmaking on the life of Jesus from the gospel of John. It is so worth your time to give it a go

My favorite scene is Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus from chapter 3 of John’s account of Jesus’ life. It’s easy for me to miss Nicodemus’ sincere inquiry and passion when he comes to Jesus because of his clear spiritual blindness. He is clearly beginning to break free from this unbelief because he comes to Jesus to ask questions. I marvel at how spiritually blind he is….then I remember myself until God awakens me to life through the same gospel. I was just like Nicodemas.

In Jesus’ answering Nicodemus’ questions, he references Scripture that he gave to Ezekiel a few hundred years earlier when he was describing how he would raise up a valley of dry bones in order to show Ezekiel that God is powerful and able to raise up children for Abraham from a completely dead state.

In Ezekiel 36:25-27 the Lord tells how he will raise the dead to life by causing them to be “born again”…he will wash them with clean water, give them a new heart, and give them his Spirit.

When Nicodemus is stumped by how a person is born again, Jesus recounts this scripture and proclaims this good news. The flesh can only produce flesh, but God, by his powerful work of salvation, causes people to be reborn…remade…reconstituted…from death to life by the powerful working of God who washes, remakes, and empowers.

How does God do that? He does it by sending Jesus, the eternal Son of God, the faithful Israel, and he obediently and joyfully comes, lives perfectly, dies in the place of sinners, is buried, rises on day 3, ascends back to the Father in order to return on the appointed day and receive his prepared people by gathering all who received him by faith.

Advent. We remember what God has done and by faith look forward to what he is going to do.

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