Birth and Re-birth
Cute Baby Lamb
It is said that there is one thing we cannot really influence or control and that is our birth. (Though I am sure there are some Paediatricians out there who will say that the baby does control the birth telling the mother when it is time) but generally it is thought that the baby does not have control on how it is born. The mother or other external influences do this, (drugs inducing the birth for instance or even a caesarian)
Roughly 2000 years ago one of the rulers of the Jews called Nicodemus had to ponder the question about birth. Nicodemus was talking to Jesus one evening about things, especially the miracles that Jesus had been performing, and suggested that Jesus was a great man from God. Jesus answered Nicodemus
Jesus said, “You’re absolutely right. Take it from me: Unless a person is born from above, it’s not possible to see what I’m pointing to—to God’s kingdom.” (The Message John 3 v3)
Nicodemus's reply was to ask how can one be born again when they are fully grown, It would not be possible to re-enter your mothers womb and be born again.
Jesus said, “You’re not listening. Let me say it again. Unless a person submits to this original creation—the ‘wind-hovering-over-the-water’ creation, the invisible moving the visible, a baptism into a new life—it’s not possible to enter God’s kingdom. When you look at a baby, it’s just that: a body you can look at and touch. But the person who takes shape within is formed by something you can’t see and touch—the Spirit—and becomes a living spirit. (The Message John 3 v5-6)
“So don’t be so surprised when I tell you that you have to be ‘born from above’—out of this world, so to speak. You know well enough how the wind blows this way and that. You hear it rustling through the trees, but you have no idea where it comes from or where it’s headed next. That’s the way it is with everyone ‘born from above’ by the wind of God, the Spirit of God.” (The Message John 3 v 7-8)
The question logically comes, "Why does a person need to be born again (born from above)?"
The simple answer is that we have all done wrong and so can't have a relationship with a perfect God. There is a gulf between us that needs to be spanned to allow the relationship to occur.
Paul in Ephesians 2 says It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah (The Message Ephesians 2 v 1-6)
Paul also goes on to say in Corinthians -
Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way any more. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you. (The Message 2 Corinthians 5 16-20)
Now I know Nicodemus did not have Paul’s writings to help him understand but he did have the chance to actually question Jesus in person, and we hope that he must have realised that being born again (or from above) is not a human activity but a miracle inspired by God
You can read more about this amazing chapter of John's Gospel – chapter 3 in our home group notes on the chapter here.
Just remember Pauls invitation to become a friend with God still stands today
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Dyslexic doodles on photography, food (growing, cooking & of course eating), faith and other fascinating things. This is a personal blog expressing my views.