The sentence consisted of five brief words. They were common words and each by itself was powerless; however when the five were woven together in a sentence, they communicated an extraordinary truth.
To someone who was as religious as he was the words were startling. He most likely had excelled at his bar mitzvah. If his rabbi had graded him, he probably was at the head of the class and an A+ student.
But Nicodemus had the rug pulled out from under him when Jesus said these five words: “You must be born again.” Even though he was a Pharisee, a member of the Sanhedrin, and a religious person, Jesus said Nicodemus still needed to experience the new birth.
The new birth is much like your physical birth: Whatever you need is provided, the pain of the process is felt by another, and someone else does the work.
There is one major difference. When you were born the first time, you had no choice in the matter; however, the choice is yours when you think of your second birth.
The power, the effort, and the pain of your second birth are not yours, but the choice is: “For whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:13).”
Your new birth is by God’s power, according to God’s plan, and for God’s purpose. Notice how John expresses this: “To us, the greatest demonstration of God’s love for us has been his sending his only Son into the world to give us life through him. We see real love, not in that fact that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to make personal atonement for our sins. If God loved us as much as that, surely we, in our turn, should love each other (I John 4:9-11)!”
Let me leave you with three questions to keep you thinking:
- Have you experienced the real love of God?
- Do people see it you?
- Do you share it with others?