Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. – Jn. 3:5 NIV
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Nicodemus indeed had very intimidating credentials. Not only was he a Pharisee, he was also a member of the Jewish ruling Council and a teacher of the Jewish laws and tradition. The last bit of his credentials must be the part of him that was at work when he sought out Jesus Christ, although he chose to do that at a time of the day when his chances of been seen was very remote. He had gone seeking for knowledge about an area of the relationship of God with man that was not too clear to him. As a teacher, he probably realised he needed to be on top of his game – Jn. 3:1-2.
His acknowledgement of Jesus Christ as not just a teacher but one who has come from God made Jesus Christ conclude that he was also born again – Jn. 3:3. This is consistent with the view of Jesus Christ when it is placed side-by-side with the event at the mount of transfiguration where Jesus Christ also concluded that the view of Simon Peter about him could only be as a result of divine revelation and not earthly wisdom – Matt. 17:1-8.
The description by Jesus Christ, of Nicodemus as being born again probably got Nicodemus more confused as he wondered loudly to Jesus Christ on how someone could be born again when it was practically impossible for an adult or anyone for that matter to go back into the mother’s womb and be delivered the second time – Jn. 3:4.
In his response, Jesus Christ further re-emphasized his earlier point explaining that no one can see the activities in the kingdom of God if such had not entered in one way or the other and the entry requirement is that such must be born again, only this time it must be with water and spirit.
This response by Jesus Christ is deservedly the foundation scripture of today’s devotion as Jesus Christ made it clear that it will be impossible to even enjoy the gift of salvation on the last day if one is not born again. He implied that to be saved and enter the kingdom of God on the last day will start with accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior but must be followed by experience of being born again for the whole process to be completed. To be born again however;
- Such must be born of water – Jn. 3:5. To be born of water is to have been through the spiritual act of water baptism. This is not about water being poured on one but one being dipped/immersed in water signifying an old person being buried and a new person re-appearing – Rom. 6:4; Col. 2:12. The act may seem like a mere physical act but both parties must demonstrate sufficient faith in the process for its significance to be realised. If both see it as a mere exercise, then it remains just that and the one being taken through that process will receive only the earthly reward but if the one taking the new convert through the process successfully makes him/her attain the required level of faith in the process, there is no doubt that the result will be massively spiritual in terms of its impact – Jn. 3:6.
- Such must be born of the Spirit – Jn. 3:5. If the water baptism is seen as spiritual, then the spiritual re-birth process is even more spiritual. It involves the spiritual process of immersion of the individual in the Holy Spirit. Although an individual may display the gifts of the Holy Spirit (1Cor. 12:1-11), it is definitely not the same as been dipped in the Holy Spirit. One who has experienced spiritual re-birth finds all works of flesh very repulsive (Gal. 5:19-21) and aspires with determination to manifest mainly fruits of the Holy Spirit – Gal. 5:22-23. Jesus Christ says it is one of the stages of the born again process that every Christian must attain to qualify for entry into the kingdom of God. It allows the Christian to see things of heaven even as an earthly being and retain the hunger for such throughout life.
- The spiritual birth is a profound spiritual activity that is beyond the human comprehension – Jn. 3:8. That probably explains why someone like Nicodemus can qualify to be so classed as anyone including himself will wonder how he could be born of both when there was no visible or physical evidence that he went through it, but his hunger for the things of God proved his relationship with the Lord in that regard. Only one of spirit can desire things of the spirit. To defy all odds, including the possibility of being seen with Jesus just to be able to have more knowledge about God is very indicative, after all he was not the only Pharisee who is a teacher.
Jesus Christ has indeed being presented as a gift to mankind but it will be a gift whose advantage will remain unavailable to the one who possess it if such is not born again. What is the value of all that currency if it is not used to purchase desired items. Indeed you did not work to receive this gift, but you need to go through the process for the gift to release its value to you. If the coming of Christ is to have an impact on your life, in this world and in the world to come, then you just have to be born again. May God put His hunger and zeal in us in Jesus name. Amen.