“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." - John 3:3 Late one night, under the cover of darkness, a well-educated religious leader sought out Jesus of Nazareth, a somewhat controversial itinerant preacher of His time.
“Rabbi,” Nicodemus addressed Him, “we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do the things You do unless God is with him.”
Nicodemus respected Jesus, and had drawn certain conclusions about Him. He acknowledged Him as a good teacher, and even as someone capable of miracles.
Just a few verses above this story, the Bible says of Jesus that “He knew all men…for He knew what was in man” (John 2:25).
Jesus knew what was in Nicodemus’ heart.
He didn’t waste any time with philosophical discussions or polite conversation.
He got right to the point: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
This is the first time in recorded history that the phrase “born again” is used in this way.
It is a phrase that has been dragged through the media, maligned, made fun of, and often completely misunderstood.
It even left Nicodemus, the theologian, baffled.
He somewhat satirically asked Jesus, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”
So Jesus explained it to him this way: “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.’”
Nicodemus’ mind must have been reeling as he tried to think this through.
With all his knowledge and intellectual prowess, he was still no doubt wondering to himself, “What does this have to do with me?” as he blurted out, “How can these things be?”
Jesus gently chided him, saying, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things?”
You can be a religious person, well versed in philosophy and knowledge—maybe even a leader in your church or temple. Yet with all those credentials, you can still be ignorant of the one essential condition stipulated by Jesus for entering the Kingdom of God.
It’s so logical, when you think about it.
“That which is born of flesh is flesh.” There are over five billion people on this planet, and we all got here one way—and one way only. We were all born “of the flesh.”
Each of us came from our mother’s womb.
But there is another, spiritual, invisible world, inhabited by spiritual beings, where the Kingdom of God resides.
There is only one way to enter into this world as well. “That which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” You must be spiritually born into it. You must be born again, by the Spirit of God.
Jesus met Nicodemus face to face. He challenged his mind and his intellect. Now He gets to the heart of the matter: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
That’s what it means to be born again.
By the Holy Spirit of God, we pass from death to life, no longer bound by this world and its constraints. We will not perish. Our sin, our pain, our misery, the heartaches and failures that torment and taunt us are now subject to a new order, to a new, eternal, life in the Kingdom of God.
[Photo: Matt Gruber, CreationSwap]