1 Peter 1:3: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

There are several ways to become a family member: one is to be born into a family, another is to be adopted into a family, and yet another is to marry into a family. When my husband Bill and I got married our family doubled in size because now we have in-laws. Naturally a family is not a temporary assignment. A family is for life. Unfortunately, in the real world family splits happen. Deep hurt has led to such frictions.

In God’s kingdom we essentially deal with family issues. We are all God’s creation, whether we are brought near to God’s kingdom or whether we have managed to stay away from it. The apostle Peter refers to the event of coming back together as “new birth”. Also Jesus insists that the kingdom of heaven consists of family members only and in order to be adopted into God’s family we have to be born again. In a conversation with a scholar named Nicodemus the Lord pointed out that rebirth is not referring to our physical but spiritual being. This is where Jesus completely lost Nicodemus. Dumbfounded he asked Him: “What do you mean?”

Some cultures ignore the spiritual aspect of our humanness altogether, while other cultures are sensitive to the reality of a spiritual world surrounding us; however I think we can all appreciate Nicodemus’s confusion. Maybe it helps picturing future human beings to be packages that get mailed. On our birthday the package arrives and what our parents and everybody else sees is our outward appearance; but also included in the package is our spiritual being.

The rebirth of our spiritual being could be compared to an awakening. While sleeping, we really have no idea what is happening around us. Similarly, when we are spiritually asleep, we cannot relate very well to God who is Spirit and we have trouble hearing Him. If you have ever tried to wake yourself up from a bad dream, then you know how difficult this can be. Waking up spiritually is even more difficult. We need a touch from the Lord to see His kingdom and hear His voice. He has been speaking to us all along.

Touched by the Lord, children of God are born into a living hope: eternal life. Eternal life implies living with Jesus – which starts in the here and now, to be continued when we cross over to the other side. Jesus was the First to rise and His followers shall rise too. And I believe heaven is a good place to wake up to.

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