By Joel A. Hess –
I still remember when the Rubik’s cube came out and had everyone puzzled for at least a little while. Then one day at recess when I was in third grade, everyone marveled at a young genius named Todd. Todd had cracked the cube. We gathered around him near the monkey bars as he showed off his cube. It was in complete disarray. He then left the crowd and hustled near the fence. Soon he returned with the puzzle in complete order. Wow! Soon we learned the trick. Todd ripped off each little piece with his pocket knife and then simply put them back in the right place. He destroyed and rebuilt it! Like Captain Kirk and the Kobayashi Maru, Todd became a legend. Of course, we all quickly did the same much to the chagrin of our teachers.
Many of us tend to look at our lives like a Rubik’s cube. Our lives are checkered with failures, mistakes, and sins, and many of them are permanently damaging! If they can just get it right. If we can just move things around. If we could just go back and do it all over again.
Perhaps Nicodemus thought he was solving his life’s puzzle. Or maybe he visited Jesus that one night because he needed help. Regardless, he was shocked by Jesus’ first words to him.
“Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” Nicodemus either responded seriously or mockingly, “How can someone be born when they are old? Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” Perhaps for a moment Nicodemus wished he could enter his mother’s womb again. Or maybe do it all over again.
Do you wish you could take back some things? Some words, some deeds? Do you wish you could do it all over again? You’d get it right for sure, right? Probably not. Definitely not! We can’t solve that Rubik’s cube that is our life. There is something really, really wrong with us.
Jesus tells one of the smartest and most righteous guys in Israel that all his talent, money, and righteousness is absolutely worth nothing when it comes to seeing the reign of God, let alone entering God’s kingdom.
Like that Rubik’s cube, he needs to be born all over again!
Of course, that’s impossible, as Nicodemus points out. Yet that’s what happens in Baptism. Messed up, mixed up, confused sinners are destroyed and remade, born all over again in water and spirit! Birthed not by our mother’s labor, but by the Word of the one who told Nicodemus, “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life!”
You don’t have to fix your life to have eternal life or to see God. You don’t have to do it all over again and get it right. Jesus did all that! He fixed your life in His flesh with every kind deed and obedient act. And He received your destruction on the cross and put it all back together as He walked out of the tomb resurrected!
So put down that Rubik’s cube and relax! You have been healed by the blood of Christ. Born again in the water and the spirit, forgiven and resurrected. In God’s eyes He doesn’t see a tangled mess, but a perfectly reborn sinless child of God!