Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” - John 3:3
Nicodemus met Jesus. As a Pharisee (a religious leader), Nicodemus was very good at following rules. He knew what it meant to be a faithful Jew, and he probably acted like a faithful Jew most of the time. When Nicodemus approached Jesus to learn more about him, he might have been expecting Jesus to tell him about some rules or requirements. He might have been wondering, “What do I have to do to be your follower?”
Jesus responded to Nicodemus in an unexpected way. Jesus told him that he must be born again. If we are familiar with these verses in John 3, we might not realize how shocking this idea must have been for Nicodemus. But Nicodemus reminds us how shocking it was when he said, “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”
Jesus explained that he was talking about a spiritual rebirth, not a physical one. The new spiritual beginning that Jesus offers is so complete, so all-encompassing, that he called it being born again. It’s not enough to follow a few new rules. Jesus offers us something better: a fresh start.
As he did for Nicodemus, Jesus offers you the joy of being born again, the joy of a fresh start at life because of God’s amazing forgiveness and love.
Jesus Christ, I praise you for coming to save me and to give me new life. By your Holy Spirit, give me new birth that results in a life of faith, hope, and love. In your name, Amen.