Heart and Soul

Tuesday 9 April 2024, 2nd week of Eastertide

Acts 4:32-37
The whole group of believers was united, heart and soul; no one claimed for his own use anything that he had, as everything they owned was held in common.  The apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus with great power, and they were all given great respect.  None of their members was ever in want, as all those who owned land or houses would sell them, and bring the money from them, to present it to the apostles; it was then distributed to any members who might be in need.  There was a Levite of Cypriot origin called Joseph whom the apostles surnamed Barnabas (which means ‘son of encouragement’). He owned a piece of land and he sold it and brought the money, and presented it to the apostles.

Psalm 92   The Lord is king, with majesty enrobed.

John 3:7-15
Jesus said to Nicodemus: ‘Do not be surprised when I say: You must be born from above.  The wind blows wherever it pleases; you hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. That is how it is with all who are born of the Spirit.’ ‘How can that be possible?’ asked Nicodemus. ‘You, a teacher in Israel, and you do not know these things!’ replied Jesus. ‘I tell you most solemnly, we speak only about what we know and witness only to what we have seen and yet you people reject our evidence. If you do not believe me when I speak about things in this world, how are you going to believe me when I speak to you about heavenly things? No one has gone up to heaven except the one who came down from heaven, the Son of Man who is in heaven; and the Son of Man must be lifted up as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.’


Jesus says, “That is how it is with all who are born of the Spirit.” What does he mean?

Scripture speaks about being born from above in a number of passages. The best known is John 3, we have just heard. The other is 1 Peter 1:3 where he uses the term “born again.”

Peter connects this with the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and our certain living hope of being raised up with him. This seems to be Peter’s commentary on Jesus’ discussion with Nicodemus. Here, Jesus actually uses a term with a double meaning that can either mean “born from above” or “be born a second time.”

Nicodemus as a learned man, should have connected the promised “Messiah”, with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, as is promised in Ezekiel 36:25-27, “A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my spirit within you”, and in the vision of the resurrection of the dry bones in Ezekiel 37.

A person without God’s Spirit is purely “flesh” and has no spiritual eyes, ears or heart to see, hear and comprehend the message that Jesus came to bring. The Lord told Nicodemus unequivocally, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6). Only the Spirit of the living God can take dry bones, and make them spiritually alive (Ephesians 2:1-5).  “You were dead through the trespasses and sins in which you once lived, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient. All of us once lived among them in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of flesh and senses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like everyone else. But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him”

According to John 3:8, the Spirit is like the wind that blows wherever she wishes. We are absolutely dependent on the Holy Spirit to blow upon what is dead in us to bring it to life. We must be radically born again by the breath of the Holy Spirit and raised up from the dead in our most interior person, like the dry bones in Ezekiel’s vision. This radical transformation is not just about belief, or changing the way we think. Nor is it about refraining from sin. Rather, when born of the Spirit our eyes and mind and heart, indeed our total self, is opened to a new consciousness of God which guides us into the pathway of life.