Nicodemus’s Wonder at Rebirth Still Prevalent 2000 Years Later
By Dan Blankenship
Have you ever had a discussion with someone about Christianity and they just can’t understand the whole “born again” thing? Well, I know I have. And in my entire Christian life I have never been able to figure out what is so complicated about this particular subject.
The Bible addresses this issue in John 3:1-21, when Jesus is talking to Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council and prominent Pharisee. Nicodemus comes to Jesus to learn more about His ministry, immediately acknowledging that it is obvious the miracles Jesus had performed prove him to be “a teacher who has come from God”. (John 3:2 NIV)
And on the night that Nicodemus decided to chat with our Savior, he was taken back a bit by what Jesus had to say next: “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” (John 3:3 NIV).
Now it is extremely evident that Nicodemus, a man who is supposedly well versed in the scriptures – being a teacher of them – is greatly confused by what Jesus told him, for his response is almost entertaining in its delivery and content. “How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!” (John 3:4 NIV)
I can almost see Jesus rolling his eyes at Nicodemus’s question and comment. But of course, Jesus is a patient man (and God), and he answers Nicodemus’s difficulty with what I consider to be great clarity: “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God, unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to the 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.” (John 3:5-8 NIV)
I guess the reason it is so simple for me to understand the “spirit” altering change Jesus is talking about when he speaks of rebirth is that I had made a few direct and serious changes before becoming a practicing Christian.
First of all, at a very young age, I had a severe anger problem. I was ready to punch or kick anyone who disagreed with me, limited me, or even looked at me the wrong way. Yet once I received some good mentoring and correct guidance, I was able to do a complete 180-degree turn and correct my outrageous behavior.
Next, I had a drug addiction at age thirteen. When I decided to quit, I quit cold turkey, never to touch the drug again!
By the time I truly committed my life to Christ, I understood what it was like to “start over” or as Jesus said, be “born again”. Only with Christ, we change the way we live our life, the way we treat others, and we focus on our eternal home, not our temporary residence.
So the next time you discuss your faith with someone who doesn’t grasp the concept of being “born again”, be patient with them – the way Jesus was with Nicodemus – and realize that not much has changed in 2000 years. People like Nicodemus need to understand and embrace the gospel just as much as those of us who grasped the concept of being “born again” the very first time we heard it.
This article is an excellent reminder of the patience we need and how to carefully share the Good News with others.
To be born again is to live each day overjoyed ,while serving our Lord with the blessed faith He has given us. Praise God ,for the eternal salvation found through Jesus Christ our Saviour. God bless you , Julie Pisacane