New Birth that brings Hope
Over the last few days we have reflected on some incredibly difficult topics, we have looked at scriptures and seen how so many of the challenges we face today are not new, they may be different these days, but families and individuals still experience many of the same issues as we have read about this week. The good news is that we do not have to face these challenges alone, Jesus offers us new life and hope.
3 Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”
3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”
4 “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”
5 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘Youmust be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
Now this passage from John’s Gospel tells us the story of Nicodemus, who took a bold and brave step. He went under the cover of darkness to meet with Jesus, he had questions and he wanted to know more. I expect if he had written a list of possible answers to expect from Jesus, being born again would not have been on it!
I love the way Nicodemus responds, he is clearly confused and probably thinks he has completely misheard Jesus. Jesus goes onto explain what it means to be born of the spirit. Jesus is talking about a choice, those who believe will have new life. That was true then and is just as true today.
What Jesus is saying to Nicodemus is that it does not matter how much good he tries to do outwardly; it is the condition of his heart and spirit that is important. This change can only happen through the Holy Spirit.
Something that I notice in this passage is how Nicodemus came to Jesus at night, this was because it would not have been safe for him to visit during the day. Having come to faith myself as an adult, I guess in those early days of exploration I also came to Jesus (metaphorically) at night. I spent time in private wrestling with the things that I was learning, trying to work out if I really believed them and if I did, was it enough to speak them out loud to those around me, knowing that if I did I could face judgement and ridicule. I remember clearly telling one of my friends that I had been born again and had given my life to Jesus, she looked at me stunned and then said “you are one of the most unholy people I know” I like to think that was a bit of an exaggeration, however that is the point completely, Jesus is for everyone, we don’t have to be good and pure and right before we can come to Him. He offers new life and hope, it is BECAUSE WE ARE UNHOLY that we need him, and we cannot do it alone!
It does not matter how many times we fall, He will be there to catch us, guide us, forgive us and comfort us. Jesus is always there, we may turn away or choose not to hear him, but if we ask Him into our lives, He will come, and we will be transformed.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here.
2 Corinthians 5:17
How is your faith at the moment?
Lord of new life,
We thank you that you will always hear us, that you love us and renew us.
Thank you for that daily choice we have, to be renewed in your spirit.
We pray for those who do not yet know you, open their ears, hearts and mind Lord, meet them when they come to you in the darkness and give them courage to confess our name in the light.
We ask for a fresh outpouring of your spirit on each of us, as we live in hope for that day when we will meet with you face to face.
In Jesus name we pray