Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”
Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”
“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”
Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
This conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus is one of the most interesting conversations recorded in Scripture. One fascinating aspect of this exchange is Jesus' words to Nicodemus. "Very truly I tell you," he said to the Pharisee, "no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again."
Nicodemus, a scholar, struggled to understand this. "How can someone be born when they are old?" he asked. "Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother's womb to be born!" Many of us struggle to understand this too, but it is vital we do as it pertains to our eternal life.
The first question is, what does it mean to be born again?
To properly understand this, we need to stop thinking in physical terms. The rebirth is not a PHYSICAL rebirth but a SPIRITUAL one. Just like we are physically born into this world when we are born from our mothers, being born again refers to a spiritual birth that happens in our hearts. It's like having a brand new start, leaving behind our old ways, and embracing a new way of living guided by God's love and wisdom.
It is also like changing our citizenship. When we become citizens of a country, it means that we are legally recognized as belonging to that nation. Similarly, when we are born again in our faith, we become citizens of God's kingdom. Our allegiance shifts from the things of this world to the values and principles of God's kingdom. We embrace a new identity as children of God and live according to his laws and teachings.
This new citizenship brings with it privileges and responsibilities. We have access to God's love, grace, and guidance, and we are called to live as ambassadors of his kingdom, representing his values and sharing his love with others.
The second question is, how do we become born again?
In his first sermon on the day of Pentecost, Peter said to people who asked a similar question: "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38). It shows the connection between repentance, baptism, and receiving the Holy Spirit. While Jesus' statement is more metaphorical and symbolic, Peter's statement emphasizes the practical steps of repentance and baptism as part of the process of receiving forgiveness and the gift of the Holy Spirit.
One part of being "born again," is heartfelt repentance. Peter calls for repentance, which involves a change of heart and turning away from sin. Repentance is an essential step in responding to the message of the gospel and receiving forgiveness for one's sins. Jesus began his ministry with a call to repentance. "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near," he said (Matthew 4:17)
The other part is baptism. Peter urges the people to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Baptism is seen as a public declaration of faith and an act of identification with Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection. It symbolizes the washing away of sins and the initiation into the Christian community. By repenting and being baptized, they would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit plays a vital role in the life of a believer, empowering them, guiding them, and bringing about spiritual transformation.
Do you want to experience this new life? Pray a heartfelt prayer now, expressing your desire to receive Jesus into your life and surrendering yourself to him. Confess your sins, ask for forgiveness, and invite Jesus to be the center of your life. Through this spiritual rebirth, you will receive the assurance of eternal life with God and the power to live a purposeful and fulfilling life according to his will. Remember, this is a personal decision and a journey of faith that involves ongoing growth, learning, and a relationship with God.
God bless you.