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Thursday, September 12, 2013

"Unless one is born again"

Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “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.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:1-3 ESV

Think about the man that Jesus addresses here. He is a Jew, a member of the leading religious party, a ruler of his people. He is coming to Jesus in secrecy. He calls Jesus Rabbi, teacher. In other words this man is approaching Jesus as one wanting to learn from him. Yet not wanting to make it public the he may have something to learn from Jesus.

Nicodemus says “we” know that you are a teacher come from God. That little two letter word we, speaks volumes. Nicodemus has admitted that the leadership of Israel recognizes that Jesus is working for God. Yet publicly they will not admit to it. Why? Because if they do they have to admit that they have something to learn as leaders.

Jesus returns Nicodemus’ greeting with a warning, “unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God”. One would imagine that Nicodemus was quite taken aback by Jesus response. Jesus basically told him, if you want to see the kingdom of God, you must start over. Jesus is telling one of the leaders of Israel that where he is at right now as a leader will not grant him access to the kingdom of God. Remember Israel was waiting for its Messiah and being restored as a nation. Jesus has told him that in order for that to happen, changes must be made.

In order for one to see the kingdom of God, one must be born again. Being born again represents a fresh start. A fresh start in God’s eyes. A new beginning in obedience to God. A fresh start that affords not only seeing the kingdom of God, but entrance into that kingdom. John records this interaction between Jesus and Nicodemus so that his readers will know that there are changes that need to occur before one can enter into the kingdom of God.

Obviously Nicodemus’ heart was in the right place because he sought Jesus out. When he sought Jesus, Jesus responded. A leader had realized who his leader was and went to him for leadership. Jesus did not disappoint.

Have you given your life over to Jesus leadership? If not, you need to. Have you been born again? Have you been baptized into Christ and been given a fresh start? If you have been reborn lead others to Jesus so they too can have a fresh start, a new beginning.

© 2013 Leo J. Woodman

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