When one of the most respected leaders of the Jews, Nicodemus came with questions for Jesus the answer was not what he expected. (John 3)
Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin court, a group of select scholars whose lives and academics were above reproach, whose job it was to rule on problems among the Jewish community with respect to the Law of Moses. Undoubtedly, measured by the citizens of the great city of Jerusalem, Nicodemus was a very good man.
He had either observed the ministry of Jesus or had heard about Him and so inquired of Jesus saying
“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.” (v2)
Nicodemus was correct but Jesus’ reply was shocking! Jesus replied
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (v3)
The stunned man then asked
“How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” (v4)
Jesus then answered the question as follows
“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.” (Vs. 5-8)
Nicodemus again questions
“How can these things be?” (v9)
And Jesus answers in detail saying
“Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” (Vs. 10-21)
New birth? Born again? Fact or fiction?
1 Peter 1:3,23, John 1:13, 1 John 2:29, 1 John 3:9, 1 John 4:7, 1 John 5:1,4, 18, 2 Corinthians 5:17 and Galatians 6:15 are all references to this truth.
In the face of the overwhelming truth about the new birth (being born from above) many people do not think this “new birth” is a real birth at all. I think the reason is that if we can’t experience something with our natural senses the tendency is to reject it as truth. This is a grave mistake.
God is a spirit. I can’t see him, feel him, smell him, hear him with my ears, taste him, or touch him. Should I than conclude that he does not exist? Of course not! Because something is “spiritual” does not render it any less real than something physical. In fact, when talking about God and his work, the “spiritual” is even more real than the physical because it is “eternal” and everything we experience that is “physical” is temporary.
The “New Birth” is just as real as physical birth.
The “New Birth” produces a “new creation” that never existed before.
Only those who have been “born again” can enter the kingdom of God.
If the “New Birth” is real, and it is, some interesting questions arise that deserve honest answers.
- Does the one born initiate the birth?
- Can a birth be reversed?
- Everyone born is the son of a Father. How long is a son a son?
Have you been born again? Have you done what Jesus told Nicodemus he must do? Read it for yourself and answer the question. (John 3:15-18)
Christianity is not joining a church, doing good deeds, keeping a set of rules, doing rituals, and dozens of other things people do in attempts to receive God’s favor. Christianity is Christ. He has purchased a perfect salvation for everyone who will come to him, depending only on him to forgive every sin and give eternal life as a free gift.
This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone, And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:11, 12)