John 3 – The first operation of God’s life: regeneration

This is the summary of John 3.

The first operation of God’s life: regeneration

The nine cases in the Gospel of John signify all human conditions. And this book shows how the life operates in each of the cases. The first operation in chapter 3 is regeneration: being reborn by water and the Spirit. Don’t think that this regeneration is needed for evil or weak people. See to whom the Lord talked about this matter of regeneration. It’s Nicodemus, a moral, good, humble, honest, high-class, intelligent, religious, God-seeking person. Even this good person needed to be regenerated.

The kingdom of God

Regeneration is a matter of life. To enter the kingdom of God is to participate in the kingdom and to be a member of the kingdom of God. For this we need to be regenerated, that is, to receive God’s life. The new life is the key to God’s kingdom. Think about the human kingdom and animal kingdom. They may live together at the same place, but they can’t be a member of each other’s kingdom because they have different kinds of life.

Life vs. knowledge

The opposite of life is knowledge. I don’t need to teach my dog how to bark, because he has the life of dog, and he already knows how to bark and he does bark himself. In the garden of Eden, what was the opposite of the tree of life? Was it a tree of death or evil? No, it was the tree of knowledge. Nicodemus was actually an essence of knowledge. He was a Pharisee, and he wanted teaching by calling Jesus a teacher. To Christians, what we need is not the knowledge of good and evil. We need life, God’s life, which has different nature from human life. Discipline is difficult. It may work, but it accompanies pain and it’s temporary. Once you get the new life, it doesn’t matter even if you do not know about the kingdom. The life will realize everything.

Brass serpent lifted up on the cross

Human beings are poisoned, no matter how good they look. When we behold Jesus on the cross, our poison goes away. This is equivalent to the principle of life, which is to change death into life. It is simple to receive the new life. Gaze upon the Lord, especially the Lord on the cross.

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John 3 – The first operation of God’s life: regeneration

Job Interview

The job interview is stressful. But it offers the opportunity to organize and summarize the ordinary things I’ve been doing probably without noticing their meanings or values. Preparing a job interview causes me to think deeply about the meanings of my life. And interview with interviewers and other interviewees also guides me to different and new thoughts of various people.

Sometimes great lessons accompany failure, but it may be a nutritious foundation for the future. How valuable are the times when I learn something. A wonderful day again today for there was something I learned.

Job Interview

Life is to cross the sea

John 6:16-21  And when evening fell, His disciples went down to the sea, And they got into a boat and began crossing the sea to Capernaum. And it had already become dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. And because a strong wind was blowing, the sea was churning. Then when they had rowed about twenty-five or thirty stadia (three or four miles), they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they became frightened. But He said to them, “It is Me. Do not be afraid.” Then they were willing to take Him into the boat; and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.

This seems a simple episode that happened when the disciples were crossing the sea. But this story has deep spiritual meanings that apply to our real lives. Our lives are like crossing the sea, and there are times when we are not with Him in our life journey.

The story begins with evening; evening fell. God is light, and without Him, darkness comes. So, here is no God, and then we go down to the sea. In the Bible, a mountain signifies a place distinguished from the world, and the sea often signifies the (Satanic) world and death. When Jesus taught people, He usually went up to mountains (Matt. 5:1, John 6:3, 15). But the disciples went down to the sea without Him. Likewise, without Him, we flow down to the world and get mixed.

The disciples had a destination, Capernaum. We also have our own destinations in our lives. Getting a Ph.D., passing a test, succeeding in the job, … But what is the real situation? According to this story, it had already become dark and Jesus was not with them. To make it worse, a strong wind was blowing and the sea was churning. This is our real situation. Satan, once the head of angels, was cast down from the heavens to the air, so the wind is Satan’s attack (Eph. 2:2). The sea is home to demons (Matt. 8:24, 26, 32), so the waves are demons’ attack. We always fight against difficult and evil circumstances. They make our lives exhausting. But we still struggle to row the boat a bit more in this chaos.

At last, they became exhausted, lost their confidence and energy such that they were frightened when they saw Jesus. When we have some amount of energy and confidence with which we can still try to proceed a few more miles, He has not yet come. Why? He wants us to be totally worn out so that we cannot move any more. This is one of the principles found in the Bible. He doesn’t take action before we are totally dead (John 2:4, 11:6). Give myself up, then He is waiting there. Anyway, He finally came to them.

He is the victor; He steps on the sea and walks on it. Nothing can interrupt Him. When Jesus came near to the boat, He said, “It’s Me. Don’t be afraid.” When you are exhausted, hopeless, and humbled, do you hear Him saying, “It’s Me. Don’t be afraid. I overcame all that you are struggling with. I want to get into your boat. I know you began without Me, you have struggled for yourself, and you failed. But it’s okay. Now I’m here. I hope you to be willing to let me in?” As soon as we take Him into our boat, we are at the land to which we are going. He is all that we need to get to our destination.

Life is to cross the sea

The principle of the Lord’s changing death into life

John 2:3-4 And when the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what do I have in this that concerns you? My hour has not yet come.”

… In such a case, the natural man will pray, “O Lord, do something to rescue the situation.” If you pray in this way, the Lord will turn to you and say, “What have I to do with you? You have nothing to do with Me in this matter.” Nearly all of us would act the same way Mary did. What then should we do? We should not do anything. Let the death come to the surface and be exposed. Then the Lord Jesus will come in.
We all must admit that many of our prayers have gone unanswered. … Whenever I have received such a letter, I said, “You are weak, but you are not yet dead. Even if you are dead, you have not yet begun to smell.” We need to wait until the death situation comes to the surface; then the Lord Jesus will come in to change death into life. Everything that the Lord does is according to this principle of changing death into life.  – From the life-study of John Msg. 6

The principle of the Lord’s changing death into life

Rewind

내 인생을 rewind 시키고 싶다.

The Road Not Taken

Robert Lee Frost(1874~1963)

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Rewind

Looking back on 2009

In 2009, I brought up so many questions to me and to the world. I even thought, “how could I live without asking that many questions?”

To me, the biggest change is my student status from undergraduate to graduate. I was too much accustomed to doing my best for given tasks such as reading textbooks, understanding the content, and sometimes memorizing stuff, so conducting my own research was (is still) a big big obstacle to me. Not only was it a matter of ignorance of how-to, I did lose confidence as well. Maybe this is the starting point of so many questions popping in and messing up my head. Many of graduate students I know are pressed by stuff that their advisors ordered them. That may be burdensome, but in some aspect, they do not need to wander around looking for something that makes everybody happy. In my case, because I was not forced to move in a way that was asked for by other people, and rather I had much freedom to choose my research topic and budget my schedule, I should keep asking “what is a good way?” One day, this topic seems fun, but a few weeks later, I lose my interest. One day, another thing interests me, but after a few days, I find out how stupid it is to work on it. Walking through this process repeatedly, I wanted and tried to find what I really like, what is valuable in my life. I opened myself to all possibilities, including changing my major, not to be limited by my custom and occupying knowledge. What was my childhood dream? What do I enjoy? And recently, what is my study style? What really gives me the feeling of achievement? Prof. Chulsoo Ahn, on TV show 무릎팍도사, said

The life of a person who seeks what he really likes might be slow, but it is the successful life.

I became able to understand people who hesitate to turn their life journey toward their dream. Time flies, life’s too short. It is not easy to be free from what I used to be. I guess this freedom can be achieved through asking questions and questions.

The year 2009 started with joy and hopes, from the trip to Thailand to the excitement about graduate school. But it ended up with unanswered questions, not enough self-esteem, concerns about the future, and particularly health problems of my neighbors. There must be things that I gained, too. I became more honest to myself. I gave myself careful consideration. I want to believe that 2009 was the time to start finding clues about a tangle in me. Untangling the thread should be my on-going work throughout my life, and I hope the thread to be woven into the most beautiful artwork.

Looking back on 2009