Woman with butterfly perched on hand

A New Identity
Story 4

Legacy Culture

In the gospel of John, there’s a story about identity. It starts like this: "There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, 'Rabbi, we know that you're a teacher from God, for no one can do the things that you do unless God is with him.'"

Nicodemus approaches Jesus and calls him, “Rabbi.” What he means by this is, "You are a person who's going to influence my life. You're going to help shape my identity." He approaches Jesus at night -- which some people believe is not just night physically, but also night in the sense of the darkness of his soul.

As he approaches Jesus, Nicodemus says, "I come to you and I'm in trouble because I just don't understand my identity. I need to know how I'm influenced, how I'm shaped, who I am, what I'm called to." This is a really powerful conversation that takes place.

This is what Jesus says immediately to Nicodemus, as the gospel author John wrote: "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.'" Nicodemus immediately replied, "You want me to enter into my womb?"

Jesus then tells Nicodemus, "The Holy Spirit is like the wind. The wind influences and changes you, and you don't know where it comes from. You just know it by experiencing it."

When John is writing this story, he leaves it right there with this powerful message for Nicodemus. And you don't hear about Nicodemus again until later on in the gospel, when he speaks up for what is right – because that’s his new identity.