Today’s AMI QT Devotional (new) is provided by Pastor Doug Tritton who serves as the Young Adults pastor at Symphony Church in Boston.
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“The Afterlife Starts Now”
Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 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.”
Is there life after death? That is a question that every person who has ever lived has wondered. Hopefully, most of us have asked ourselves that question and found that the answer is “YES” – if we believe in Jesus, there is life after death, when we will be with Jesus for all eternity.
But, are we missing something when we say that the “afterlife” comes after we die? Is this life simply a time of waiting until that fateful day when we pass and are transported up to heaven? I think Jesus would say something different; I think he would say that the afterlife starts as soon as you put your faith in him and choose to follow him.
In our passage, Jesus tells Nicodemus that we must be “born again.” He is saying that for someone to experience the Kingdom of God, they must be radically changed by the Holy Spirit, changed in a way that fundamentally alters who they are. Jesus says it is like being born a second time. When you believe in Jesus and receive the Holy Spirit, you are made completely new. Simply put, you become a new creation (see 2 Corinthians 5:17).
So, back to the question of the afterlife—When does the afterlife begin? For those in Jesus, the afterlife actually begins when you believe in him. When you put your faith in Jesus, you are born again; you are made into a new creation. Further, the word Jesus uses in the original language for “again” is a word that also can mean “from above”. When Jesus says you must be “born again”, it also has this connotation: “born from above.” This second birth, this re-creation, is heavenly. Many people think the afterlife is about us going up to heaven one day; but for Jesus, the afterlife is heaven coming down to earth. We experience the afterlife now when we believe in Jesus, when heaven comes down and impacts our life such that we are born again. If you believe in Jesus, you are living in the afterlife now.
If this is the case, what does this mean for our lives? This means that we bring heaven with us where we go. Jesus called us to be ambassadors for his kingdom and we model the kingdom when we demonstrate a life that is born from above. When you go to work or school or wherever today, remind yourself, you are bringing heaven with you and pray that God would work the power of heaven through you.
Prayer: Lord, thank you that you have given us a second birth, a birth from above. Thank you for changing us by the power of the Holy Spirit and recreating us to be ambassadors of heaven. May we seek to bring heaven wherever we go. Use us to demonstrate heaven through our lives.
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 32
Lunch Break Study
Read Matthew 13:33: He told them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.”
Questions to Consider
- What does it mean that the kingdom of heaven is like a leaven?
- How can you be leaven for the kingdom?
- According to this short parable, the kingdom of heaven is like leaven that influences the whole batch of dough. A little leaven can influence something much larger; in the same way, the kingdom of heaven is small at first, but grows quickly by influencing its surroundings.
- Remembering that we are new creation, born from above, this means we bring the kingdom of heaven wherever you go. We are leaven that can influence are neighborhoods and workplaces and everywhere else we go. Think about how you can consciously bring the kingdom to these places such that the leaven in you leavens everything around you.
Tonight, spend time in prayer, inviting God to use you this week to be an influence for the kingdom. We can only do this by his power, so invite the Holy Spirit to empower you to bring heaven this week to the areas around you.