Pono Like Jesus – John 3

Pono Like Jesus – John 3


John 3:1-17 Trans by Rev. John Petty (Progressive Lutheran pastor, Aurora, CO)

There was a person out of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Judeans. He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you have come from God, a teacher, for no one is able to do these signs which you do except God be with [them.]” Jesus answered and said to Nicodemus, “Truly, truly I say to you, unless someone be born from above, that one is not able to know the kingdom of God.”

Nicodemus said to him, “How is a person able to be born, being old? That one is not able to enter into [their] mother’s womb a second time and be born.” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a person be born out of water and Spirit, that one is not able to enter into the kingdom of God. That having been born of flesh is flesh, and that being born of Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, “It is necessary for you to be born from above.” The Spirit blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but you have not known from where it comes and where it goes. So it is with everyone who has been born out of the Spirit.”

Nicodemus answered and said to Jesus, “How are these things able to be?” Jesus answered, “You are the teacher of Israel and you do not know these things? Truly, truly I say to you, that what we have known we speak, and what we have seen, we witness, and you do not receive our witness. If I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not trust, how will you trust if I speak to you of heavenly things? And no one has gone up into heaven except the one who came down out of heaven, the son of humanity. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so it is necessary for the son of humanity to be lifted up so that anyone trusting in him might have life eternal. For God so loved the cosmos that he gave the only-begotten son that anyone trusting into him might not perish but might have life eternal, for God did not send the son into the cosmos so that the cosmos might be judged but so that the cosmos might be saved through him.”

Pono is commonly translated as ‘righteousness’. The Hawaiian dictionary gives six Hawaiian meanings and eighty-three English translations for the word pono! Just a few of the direct translations: uprightness, morality, moral qualities, correct or proper procedure, excellence, personal or communal well-being or material prosperity, welfare, shared ideas of wealth such as equity, and ways of communicating the benefit or purpose of something, true condition or nature, virtue and virtually all desirable things, both material and spiritual.

What is the deeper meaning of the word pono?

In life, pono stands for righteousness and balance. In Hawaiian, if a person is living pono, it means that they have struck the right balance in their relationships with other things, places, and people in their lives. It also means that they are living with a continuous conscious decision to do right by themselves, by others, and by the world in general. Essentially, pono is a state of existence that is characterized by integrity and a feeling of contentment when everything is good and right. The idea behind this word and this way of life is that moral behavior is hopeful and leads to happiness for the doer and for everyone around them.



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