The Gospel is absurd. There are a lot of things in this world that are absurd. However, something absurd isn’t automatically false. As Christians, we believe the Gospel is true. But we should also realize that it takes us beyond how we normally view things.
Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” – John 3:5-8, ESV
Jesus is describing a spiritual change here. That’s not something we can reach out and touch. We cannot measure being born again directly. It’s not something we can quickly demonstrate with a simple example. Jesus was talking about an eternal, permanent change borne of a supernatural event. Of course it sounds absurd. God is in the business of doing the absurd. After all, God reaching down to His creation is, in and of itself, absurd. But God did. That’s why Jesus came to us.
The Gospel also sounds absurd because of what it tells us. We can’t earn salvation on our own. In our “pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps” world, God tells us through the Gospel that we can’t. Only He can. It doesn’t matter how hard we work. It doesn’t matter how much we sacrifice. We simply can’t earn salvation on our own. How absurd! The world tells us we can be anything we want! But Go says, “No, you can’t be saved unless I save you.”
To help smooth the shock to Nicodemus, Jesus didn’t just stop with, “You can’t on your own.” Jesus gave Nicodemus examples of where our understanding is limited. We can only go so far. And we accept those limitations and move on. The Gospel should be the same way to us.
Accept the absurdity of the Gospel. Embrace it as God’s packaged gift to us. Gifts are absurd. We give gifts; they aren’t earned. Otherwise they’d be rewards, not gifts. The Gospel is a gift – the greatest one of all. So while we may not understand everything about it, let us cherish it. Let us celebrate it. And let us share it!