Green Grass and Tree Buds

The other morning I was out walking our dog and I took notice of something amazing unfolding.  The grass was greener, buds were beginning to form on trees and bushes, and I could go outside in less than a parka and blizzard gear.  It must be spring in Wisconsin!!!  It was amazing to notice the new buds beginning to form where the dried out leaves of last fall used to be.  Blades of green grass could be seen poking up in the midst of the brown, monotone lawns.  It was like the lawn had been brought back to life, revitalized, and began afresh.  In another month or so all the signs of winter, the empty trees, the brown grass, and the naked bushes will instead be filled with signs of new life, that just a month before was unthinkable.

One evening Jesus is with the disciples and he is approached by a Jewish religious leader named Nicodemus.  Nicodemus wonders who Jesus is or how he works, and Jesus responds to him, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born again.” (John 3:3, TNIV)  Jesus answers reveals to Nicodemus a new reality, a new way to see and live through Jesus.  But Nicodemus doesn’t get it, he responds, I can’t be born again from my Mom, that doesn’t work.  Jesus simply smiles and says to him, I don’t mean like that, instead I mean that in me, in God you can experience a rebirth, a new life, a start over that can come from nowhere else.

At church we are preparing to begin Holy Week, the days and moments leading up to Jesus’ death on the cross and his resurrection three days later.  We sit at church in this season, and like Nicodemus, we hear about new life and rebirth, and think, how could that ever happen to me?  How could there be new life in my broken relationship with my spouse, my kids, and my friends?  How could there be new life in the midst of my depression or my anger and grudges?  When Jesus died and rose for our sins, he came so that we might have life and life to the fullest (John 10:10).

Jesus came here to bring new life.  Jesus died so that you might see new life in your relationships with others, so that you might experience healing and restoration from the struggles, grudges, and hurt you bottle up inside.  Jesus came so that the areas of your lives that look like the brown lawn, the naked bush, and the empty tree, would begin to blossom anew, through Him.  Jesus doesn’t promise to make things all better, to take away all stress or hurt, but He promises new life for those who believe in him.  Jesus invites us to experience life renewed, reborn, and revitalized.

Pastor Bill

Discussion Questions

  1. Where in your world would you like to see new life right now?
  2. Do you believe that Jesus could bring about that kind of change?
  3. What might new life look like?
  4. To dig deeper into Nicodemus’ story read John 3:1-21.