Jesus’ birth, our birth: being born again to new life
Read: John 3:3-7
‘You must be born again.’ John 3:7
We have a lot of ways to talk about apologizing to other people. Bury the hatchet, kiss and make up, wipe the slate clean, extend the olive branch. How about “start over”? The idea is that forgiveness can make an old relationship like a totally new relationship without any bad history.
“Starting over” with God is called “being born again.” The potential for goodness and relationship with God was damaged by sin, which separated us all from God. Nicodemus came to Jesus to find out how to restore that relationship. It was so important that he ran the risk of meeting with Jesus (who was hated and feared by most religious and political leaders) in the middle of the night. How can we be a part of the kingdom of God?
Jesus tells him: You must be born again. Nicodemus takes this very literally at first and expresses confusion. No one can be born physically a second time, as a baby is.
Jesus explains that there are two kinds of birth, of the flesh and of the Spirit. By having both, we can be, in some ways, much like Jesus in His human nature and His relationship with God (although we can never BE God, as Jesus is). Our fleshly, physical birth comes from our parents, as Jesus was borne by Mary into a human family with Joseph.
Jesus was also born with a spirit that was in perfect relationship with God. He had no sin by birth or by action. Jesus tells Nicodemus that it is possible to have a second, spiritual birth, restoring Nicodemus’s ability to be part of God’s kingdom through faith in Jesus Christ. The second birth gives him not a living physical body, but a living spirit. The second birth makes him a new creation, no longer bound by sin and capable of resisting temptation just as Jesus could.
Questions for reflection and discussion
● Read the rest of John 3. How is a person born a second time?
● Have you been born again?
Dear God, thank You for giving me the gift of a second birth. It is a gift I could not earn on my own and can only come from You. Please give me the belief in Your Son that will bring me eternal life. In Jesus’ name, amen.