A refreshing breeze graced the courtyard where Jesus and Nicodemus conversed by night.
The careful, logical, reasonable Nicodemus was facing a totally illogical proposition—a new birth! It was impossible of course, in the natural scheme of things. Jesus, respecting the thoughtfulness of Nicodemus, explained the reality of spiritual rebirth.
Adam and Eve were created without sin but with a choice. They enjoyed a freedom laden with personal responsibility. We do not know how long our two original parents “walked with God in the cool of the day” untroubled by temptation or sin or thoughts of death—it could have been centuries! When tempted they failed and sin entered the human condition. Eden and the close fellowship with God was lost. Without this daily fellowship with God, the descendants of Adam and Eve quickly fell into iniquity and perpetuated it to all subsequent generations all the way down to us.
Jesus is called the Second Adam because when tempted He did not sin. Then, in another garden, He drank the complete cup of iniquity for us all and took our sins upon Himself. Our sins were buried with His lifeless body. On the Third Day, He left that tomb and our sins remained there.
This salvation plan was designed to give each of us a new start with a new nature. Through Jesus we can rise above our record. We can walk again through each day and night in fellowship with the Father, through the Son, by the Spirit. We can be born again!
However, being “born again” made no sense to Nicodemus:
“How can a man be born when he is old?
Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”
Born of the Spirit
Legitimate questions! Smiling with a smile that seemed a torch in the darkened courtyard, Jesus told Nicodemus of the ministry of the Spirit. Another birth was needed, a spiritual rebirth.
“…unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
There was logic in this—a strange, new line of reasoning like a door slowly opening in the well-trained mind of Nicodemus. Seeing the breakthrough, Jesus went on.
“Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
The door was not opened wide enough to receive this.
“How can these things be?”
Earthly Things, Heavenly Things
The gentle smile departed from the face of Jesus as He expressed frustration that a leader in Israel would not have some inkling of the plan of God.
“If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe,
how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?”
Nicodemus lowered his head. He knew the accusation was true. Was there any real hope for a nation fallen so far from its heritage? Yes. And the hope stood before him—this man, Jesus! Through Him, the love of God was abroad in the land! Jesus went on.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
What was that word—“whosoever?” The most inclusive term possible! There was hope and He was standing there talking to him.
Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Nicodemus answered and said to Him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things? Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
1 Corinthians 15:20-23
But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.
Lord Jesus, thank You for opening my mind to so much of Your truth! Truly Your Spirit is at work opening my heart and mind as I pray and meditate on Your Word. Thank for this new birth. It is more than a lofty ideal—it is a reality! I am a new creature. Old things have passed away and all things are becoming new. Thank You for coming to this earth—thank You for coming to me! Amen.
Whosoever Meaneth Me
1. I am happy today and the sun shines bright,
The clouds have been rolled away;
For the Savior said, whosoever will
May come with Him to stay.
Refrain: “Whosoever,” surely meaneth me,
Surely meaneth me, O surely meaneth me;
“Whosoever,” surely meaneth me,
“Whosoever,” meaneth me.
2. All my hopes have been raised, O His name be praised,
His glory has filled my soul;
I’ve been lifted up, and from sin set free,
His blood has made me whole.
3. O what wonderful love, O what grace divine,
That Jesus should die for me;
I was lost in sin, for the world I pined,
But now I am set free.
© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved
TheJesusStory devotions are also found at KingdomWinds.com.