The Great Reset, was the theme of the World Economic Forum in January 2020.
At this meeting IMF director Kristalina Georgieva, listed three key aspects of a sustainable response to the current global crisis: green growth, smarter growth, and fairer growth. With the gap between rich and poor continuing to widen everywhere, the world could do with a reset.
Anne Lamott – an American novelist, Christian, recovering alcoholic, single parent and political activist known as “The People’s Author”, has said, “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”
Nicodemus would have agreed with the Great Reset, and with Anne Lamott.
Nicodemus who? You ask…
An interesting bible character, Nicodemus only appears in John’s gospel where he is introduced as a Pharisee and Jewish ruler. Nicodemus makes three appearances, all of them at night.
He comes to ask Jesus about a new way of living in John 3.
He advocates for Jesus with his fellow Pharisees, asking he be given a fair trial in chapter 7,
and finally appears in John 19 when he joins Joseph of Arimathea in preparing the body of Jesus for burial and donating 100 pounds of myrrh and aloes for the process. The usual amount of spice required was 5 pounds, so the excessively generous gesture of twenty times the norm, demonstrates the love of Nicodemus, and echoes the extravagant love of Mary who “wasted” a pound of rare perfume to anoint the feet of Jesus in John 12.
Nicodemus’ Greek name means “victory to the common people” from nike = victory and demos = common people. In New Testament Greek usage demos is associated with the rabble. As in “democracy”?
So Nick, the representative of the victorious rabble, is recorded by John’s gospel, consulting Jesus about the Greatest Reset ever, the switching off and on of our very identities.
1Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. 2He came to Jesus by night and said to him, ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.’ 3Jesus answered him, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.’ 4Nicodemus 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?’ 5Jesus answered, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. 6What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7Do not be astonished that I said to you, “You* must be born from above.”* 8The wind* blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.’ 9Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can these things be?’ 10Jesus answered him, ‘Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things? 11 ‘Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. 12If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.* 16 ‘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.
In a discussion completely misunderstood by many Christians, Nicodemus, whose nighttime appearances symbolise the shadowy internal nature of The Greatest Reset; is informed by Jesus that no one can see the reign of God unless that person is “born from above”.
Jesus makes clear the imperative. A complete transformation of the way we look at the world, and behave in it, is required. Our natural survival drives and selfish interests, our power plays and perpetual domination of those weaker or poorer than ourselves, have to be reset in a radical transformation that is every bit as dramatic as being born afresh.
This is not some arrogant rank of spiritual superiority that “Born Again” has come to mean for some fundamentalists. It is rather a deep inner change process that happens in the depth of our beings, most often in the dark despairing nights of our souls.
We are ready for this rebirth when we know the taste of defeat and failure, and can advocate and attend to the crucified and broken ones as Nicodemus did for Jesus.
So don’t tell me you’re Born Again, show us all by the sacrificial service of your life.