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Acts of the Apostles 4:23-31

As soon as Peter and John were released they went to the community and told them everything the chief priests and elders had said to them. When they heard it they lifted up their voice to God all together. “Master,” they prayed, “it is you who made heaven and earth and sea, and everything in them; you it is who said through the Holy Spirit and speaking through our ancestor David, your servant:

Why this arrogance among the nations,
these futile plots among the peoples?
Kings on earth setting out to war,
princes making an alliance,
against the Lord and against his Anointed.

“This is what has come true: in this very city Herod and Pontius Pilate made an alliance with the pagan nations and the peoples of Israel, against your holy servant Jesus whom you anointed, but only to bring about the very thing that you in your strength and your wisdom had predetermined should happen. And now, Lord, take note of their threats and help your servants to proclaim your message with all boldness, by stretching out your hand to heal and to work miracles and marvels through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” As they prayed, the house where they were assembled rocked; they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to proclaim the word of God boldly.

John 3:1-8

There was one of the Pharisees called Nicodemus, a leading Jew, who came to Jesus by night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who comes from God; for no one could perform the signs that you do unless God were with him.” Jesus answered:

“I tell you most solemnly,
unless a man is born from above,
he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Nicodemus said, “How can a grown man be born? Can he go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?” Jesus replied:

“I tell you most solemnly,
unless a man is born through water and the Spirit,
he cannot enter the kingdom of God:
what is born of the flesh is flesh;
what is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Do not be surprised when I say:
You must be born from above.
The wind blows wherever it pleases;
you hear its sound,
but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.
That is how it is with all who are born of the Spirit.”


A cursory glance at the headlines of the newspaper each day tells us that the world is in bad shape. Wars are taking place everywhere, diseases are spreading, global warming is taking place, etc. The world seems to have gone to hell and is in need of a saviour.

We look for that saviour in all sorts of places. Some of us seem to find that saviour in an authority who can give us all the answers. Some find that saviour in a government that protects us from harm, one that gives security and reassurance, never mind the cost. Some find that saviour in the material wealth and possessions that they have.

Whatever form that saviour takes, it is always a saviour who is “in control” and offers apparent stability and security. But a look through the Bible tells us that the world has always seemed to have “gone to hell”. Even Jesus’ disciples found in him a wrong kind of saviour. They found in him a saviour who would free them from the clutches of the Roman Empire. But they were wrong about him, just as we are wrong about our authority, our government, our material possessions and wealth. They cannot offer us the kind of stability and security that we seek. Our faith in them will be shaken one day.

However, God has offered us another kind of saviour. One that cannot die because he has already died and come back to life. One that is led by the will of God alone to carry out God’s will in our world.

In our eyes, the world seems to have gone to hell, because of our limited vision. We cannot see the future. We cannot see the big picture. But God can, and to him, the world, despite its troubles, is still very beautiful, because he can see the big picture. Because he can see the big picture, he does not despair as we do. And he calls on his agents in the world - those who listen to his voice and obey his will - to carry out his will for the world.

What is advantageous about following God’s will? For one thing, God can see the big picture, and direct us towards making all things new. For another, he’s God. He knows what the ending is going to be, and he’s directing us towards it.

But this doesn’t mean that we are lacking in free will. On the contrary, free will is given to each of us to choose whether or not we want to be part of carrying out God’s will. Even if we choose not to, even if every single person in the world chooses not to carry out God’s will, God’s will will still be carried out in the form of miracles. Miracles are none other than God’s intervention in the world.

God will do what it takes to bring the world towards the beautiful end he has planned. He seeks our cooperation to do it, not that he needs us to bring about the beautiful end, but because it is in our best interested to cooperate with him to bring about that beautiful end. After all, that beautiful end is for us as well.

So how do we do God’s will? Simply by being open to the workings of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Dear Lord, we pray for those who are discerning, that they may choose to carry out your will above anything else. Amen.

Give Thanks to the Lord for: Teaching us to pray that Our Father’s will be done.

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