Wednesday, December 4, 2013

John 3:1-10, the new birth, part II

Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. 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.”
Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”
“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!”
Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 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.”
“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.
10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things?

In verse 2 of our passage, Nicodemus says, " Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.”In other words, Nicodemus knows that in Jesus he is witnessing genuine divine activity. He confirms that Jesus is from God, and is doing His works.
But what happens in the new birth is not only confirming the supernatural in Jesus, but experiencing the supernatural inside yourself!
Webster defines "supernatural" as departing from what is usual or normal, and "as of or relating to an order of existence beyond the visible observable universe; especially of or relating to God." 
The fact that Nicodemus saw the signs and wonders, was amazed at them, and gave Jesus credit for being from God, didn't save him. You see, you don't need a new heart to be amazed....our old, fallen nature is all that is needed for that -- and the old, fallen nature is perfectly willing to say that the worker of the miracles is from God. After all, the devil himself knows that Jesus is the Son of God (Mark 1:24).  So, Jesus is telling Nicodemus, "you haven't yet found the key to the kingdom!"
The new birth is supernatural, not natural. It is a departure, as Webster says, from the norm. The flesh is what we are naturally (verse 6) and the Spirit of God is the supernatural Person who brings about the new birth. He is not part of our natural world -- He is above nature, and He is supernatural. He is God.
So to experience the new birth we must take in, we must internalize, we must experience the supernatural in ourselves -- we must be born again. God in the Holy Spirit must come upon us and bring our new life into existence. Jesus said in John 6:63, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all.”  I think one of the things that John wants us to "get" is that Jesus is the life that the Holy Spirit gives to us. Union with Jesus Christ is the way that we experience this new birth.
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6
“These are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” John 20:31
We can see that there is no spiritual life, no eternal life, apart from our connection with Jesus and belief in Jesus. In the new birth, we are united to Christ; He is life.  In the fifteenth chapter of John, we read that He is the vine and we are the branches. Our connection to Him is our life.  That new life makes a vibrant faith possible. Our faith in Him is a vital part of the new birth. We will continue our study of this passage tomorrow -- I hope you'll tune in.

1 comment:

Belinda said...

That is my all time favorite scripture. It's to the point and easy to understand. NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER BUT BY ME. Period.