My wife has an amazing memory. She remembers oodles of medical information regarding anesthesia, drug calculations, patient diagnosis, and how to put a Disney Princess Band-Aid in just the right spot to heal a “wound” on Aniston’s knee…or was it elbow…or finger…I can’t remember now and neither can she. But in addition to this real-time, real-world memory she also has an uncanny ability to remember crazy things from her childhood.
She can remember the color of car seats in her parent’s car when she was like 2 years old. Family vacations when she was 3 or 4 are described in great detail. I’m pretty sure she could tell you the type of baby food she had for her first meal if she really sat down and thought about it. However, for me I can barely remember what I ate last night even if I cooked it myself! My wife is awesome.
Yet, even in her memory majesty I don’t think even she can remember this one thing about her childhood. Her actual birth. Yep, I always have that one to hold over her head. Let’s face it I don’t’ have a lot of ammunition when it comes to my wife so I gotta use what I can.
There are some things that I believe God helps us forget in our life and that is most likely a recollection we don’t need to refer back to. However, we can all attest (since we are either reading or typing this right now) that it did happen! We all were born.
This is why, when a high-ranking Jewish official came to Jesus one day, the answer he received from Christ was so confusing. His name is Nicodemus and he comes to Jesus at night, which shows us he didn’t want his other high-ranking Jewish buddies to know he had come to see Him.
We pick up John 2:2
“Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.”
Seems like an honest and logical question for someone to ask when they are searching for answers right? Well, this is where the logic train derails for poor Nicodemus (Nic). Check out what Jesus says.
“I tell you the truth no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” – John 2:3
For Nic this did not turn out the way he thought it should go. You see, for a Jew, the typical answer for connecting further with God is through doing more. They were professional rule keepers and rule makers. They were very literal people and the abstract was…well…just that, abstract. This makes his reaction make more sense.
“How can a man be born when he old? Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born.” – John 2:4
For someone that follows the letter of the law, this does not make sense in any way, especially physically! I’m pretty sure if we went to Nic’s mother and ran this plan by her she’d most likely say “Ain’t no body got time for that!” or perhaps more accurately “Ain’t nobody’s body be able to do that!” But Jesus, in his kindness, explains further what He means.
“I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.” - John 2:5-6a
What Jesus is saying to Nic is “you are great at following the letter of law but you are terrible at applying it to your life. In order for the law to transform you it has to be reborn in you.”
Jesus was telling Nic and also telling us that in order for us to inherit the Kingdom of God and receive what God has designed for us to have, we need to start our life over with Jesus at the lead. In short, if we want a different life we need to live differently. This comes from a rebirth in Jesus Christ.
Now, although we all love the idea of new, fresh, and clean future, we can’t forget that this comes at a price. A new beginning always means the end to something. Being born again means killing our old life and suffocating it so that a new life may be born. This is how we are able to truly grasp what Jesus did for us and the sacrifice He made through His life for ours. Jesus died for our old life so our new life can be a fresh start with Him.
Don’t take this for granted. Make sure you know the day you were truly born. Know without a shadow of a doubt who Jesus is, what He did for you, and accept Him as your Lord and Savior. By doing that you have broken free from your old life and are reborn into the life God has always wanted you to have. This is not a life free of challenge, pain, and frustration, but it is a life free of sin and its eternal effects when this life is over.
If you never have, take this moment to ask Jesus to be Lord of your life and be born into the Family of God forever. Congratulations! You now have a new birth certificate!