The man couldn’t sleep. It was the middle of the night but he had to have answers. His mind was striving to make sense of his circumstances. He knew the truth but the truth was going to cost him dearly. He needed to talk.
He went to see someone. He was in danger going to see this person. Being seen with this individual could cost him everything; his position in society, his way of making a living, maybe even his life. He had to talk.
He arrived at the house in which this man was staying. His followers brought him in to talk. The man said, “I’ve seen you do things that could only be done if you are from God himself.” It was a true expression of what he thought. This teacher had performed amazing signs, miraculous things that could only be done with the power of God. The man was deeply impressed with this teacher.
What the teacher said in response to his compliment made no sense. The teacher replied, “Unless you are born again you can’t enter God’s kingdom.”
It made no sense to him. The man’s name was Nicodemus and he was looking for truth. The teacher was Jesus. Jesus, as was his habit, gave a startling answer that had life changing implications.
You must be born again.
So what did Jesus mean? The answer is found in Romans 6.
Jesus was telling Nicodemus that he needed a life-change. Jesus was referring to a change so drastic that it would be like being reborn. Jesus wanted Nicodemus, and us, to experience a spiritual rebirth, a cleansing, that would change us forever. Forgiveness followed by peace, joy, strength, wisdom, and holiness from God were the goals of this rebirth.
Romans 6 tells us that this rebirth occurs at baptism. Baptism, being immersed under water, is like a spiritual rebirth in which we symbolically die to the person we were and are raised to be a new person. We are forgiven and we are given the hope of a joyful life in this world and eternal life to come.
Nicodemus was being offered a chance to change his life and his ultimate destiny. Being reborn as a new creation in God’s eyes was what Jesus desired for him and us.
Rob Morton is minister of First Christian Church Middlesboro. Contact him at [email protected]