The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.
—John 1:9–13 (NRSV)
Jesus answered Nicodemus, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
…For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
—John 3:3–6, 16–17 (NRSV)
“If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you. If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world—therefore the world hates you.”
—John 15: 18–19 (NRSV)
Reflect & Discuss
- John uses this word for “world” 78 times, whereas all three other gospels together only use it 15 times. What does “world” seem to mean? (It might mean a few different things.)
- As we prepare to celebrate Jesus’ birth, what does it mean to be born of God, to become his children “born of water and the Spirit?” Why is this what happens for those who believe in Jesus?
- Remember that you have been baptized (assuming that you have). Does this fact shape who you are? How so?
- What does all of this (the “world” and our new birth) mean for how we live? Specifically during this holiday season, how do we respond?
- for all the children of God to continue to be drawn
- for any and all requests we have to share