Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
God created man and woman for only one reason—to live in communion with Him. So the Lord did not make the world and then walk away. He did not leave man to fend for himself when man sinned. Instead, God has done everything for only one reason: to draw us, and through us all creation, into a personal relationship with Himself. But our first parents sinned; they broke communion with God. And when we inherited the curse of death, God did not sit back and make us come to Him. The Father sent His Son by His Spirit to draw all men back into Himself.
Our Lord God made us and then sought to redeem us—not because He had to, but because this is who He is. God is the very definition of communion. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are three Persons in such intimate communion that They are not three, but One. And our loving God earnestly desires that all His people and all His creatures participate and live in this communion that He is.
Holy Baptism is where God restored us to what we were made to be. Holy Baptism is where God draws us back into communion with Himself. Holy Baptism is where He renews our life by drowning our hard-hearted, self-centered Old Adam. Holy Baptism is where the Father through the Son in the Spirit takes the initiative and comes to us so that He might draw us back into communion with Himself. This communion is God’s agenda, His desire, His motivation. But most of all, that is His love and delight.
And so when Nicodemus comes to Jesus by night and tells Him that His signs and wonders demonstrate that God is with Him, Jesus does not explain how this happens or talk about what this means. Instead, Our Lord Jesus invites, encourages, prods, urges, and pretty much begs Nicodemus to enter into the same loving communion with God the Father. For to enter the kingdom of God is to come into communion with God—a communion that you cannot know or even participate in until you have been born from above. And this heavenly birth does not come from your initiative or desire, but from the love of God the Father. He sends His Spirit to hover over the water of Holy Baptism, just as He hovered over the water of creation, to make you a new creation, to cleanse you from all sin. And with that water your life is made new, for you are returned to what you were made to be: a child of God in communion with the Holy Trinity.
So, just as Jesus urges Nicodemus, do not marvel when Jesus says you must be born again. Again, this is not your doing, but God’s. By your words and actions, you show yourself to be a self-centered son of Adam. But the Lord’s Spirit comes to you in the water of Holy Baptism and gives you a new Spirit: the Spirit which creates a clean heart and restores in you the joy of the Lord’s salvation. Because of that Spirit, you now have from God Himself what your heart desires—to see the kingdom of God, to enter into the Lord’s presence, to share and participate in His life, to let His love have its way with you as you deal with all people in the way that the Lord has dealt with you. That’s what the Spirit gives you in the water of Holy Baptism—not just a fresh start and a new life, but God’s life in you and through you for the benefit of all men. That is communion in God: living in the Lord, living in His righteousness, living in His kingdom.
God grant that we who have been baptized into Christ Jesus remain in true communion with Him by remaining true to the holy catholic Faith. And He will keep us steadfast in this Faith: the Faith which is found most completely in the Holy Christian Church. In the name of the Father and of the Son (+) and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The peace of God which passes all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus always. Amen.