To be born again is one of those statements that many people misunderstand. Today we misconstrue the idea of being born again as changing your church or denomination. Some feel it is when they confess by their mouth that Jesus is Lord, then they become born again.
To be born again goes beyond these. To be born again is not when we carry bibles to move about. It is not when we change our dressing so that people will say yes He is born again.
Some think that it is when you recite in your heart to accept Jesus as a personal Lord and saviour and only by merely saying it and believing it. To be born again has a spiritual and theological undertone. Let us take this bit by bit.
1. Unless We are Spiritually Hungry.
Nicodemus is a pharisee and one of the leading ones among them. He comes to Jesus at night trying to know who Jesus is. We can see in this man, one who is spiritually hungry.
He sneaks to visit Jesus probably because of his position and does not want anyone to know about the visit. He sacrificed his night rest, seeking for Jesus.
We need this hunger as children of God to have an encounter with God. This is the first step if we want to be born again.
Secondly, the encounter between Jesus and Nicodemus also reveals the type of person Jesus is. He makes Himself available to anyone and at any time.
I thought Jesus being a man of power and fame would not welcome Nicodemus, because it was already late. The bible also does not tell us whether it is a scheduled visit or an unexpected one, yet Jesus welcomed him and took him seriously.
One thing about Jesus is that He is ready to welcome anyone and at any time. He makes Himself available to all.
In the same vein, Jesus makes Himself available to us and at any time. He is willing to listen to us at any time. Today we seem to be busier than God. Hence unless we are spiritually hungry we will not have time for God.
2. Born Again from Above not just Born Again.
In today’s encounter with Jesus, Nicodemus affirms that he truly understands that Jesus is a great teacher. He tells Jesus that he knows He comes from God.
The miracles, wonders and signs that Jesus does is a pointer to this. The wonders, healing and signs convinced Nicodemus to believe in Jesus as one who comes from God.
So, he does not need any other explanation. Maybe Nicodemus wants to know and understand more about Jesus and the secret behind His wonders and miracles.
This could be the purpose of his visit, owing to his first statement. Instead of Jesus focusing on the discussion at hand, shifts his attention to another discussion of “being born from above”.
A pointer that the main emphasis of our spiritual life is to be born of God and not essentially the signs and wonders. Jesus proceeds and tells Nicodemus that the only condition for one to enter the Kingdom of God is to be born from above.
Nicodemus does not understand this. He continues to question Jesus on the need to be born again. He asks Jesus; “how can a full-grown man be born again, does it mean he will go back to his mother’s womb? This is impossible!”
Jesus, however, speaks of a rebirth in the spirit, to be born of God, while Nicodemus is thinking of being born again in the flesh.
Jesus tells Nicodemus that anyone who desires to enter the Kingdom of God would have to be born of water and the Spirit. Hence he must be recreated through Baptism and life in the Holy Spirit.
In the discussion, Jesus says that whatever that is born of the spirit is spirit and whatever that is born of the flesh is flesh.
Hence Jesus makes us to understand that there are two different types of births: one of the flesh and one of the Spirit.
3. A New Kind of Birth.
Jesus intends this to be understood clearly as a “new” kind of birth brought about by the power of the Holy Spirit. It is not changing church. It is not moving around telling people you are now born again.
Many now use Nicodemus notion of Born Again rather than Jesus’ interpretation of being born again from Above. To be born again is when we live a life motivated by the Spirit of God.
“Born from Above” is a new life in the Spirit. This is what we saw in the apostles of Jesus immediately after the descent of the Holy Spirit.
This is when our lives are guided by the yearnings of the spirit and not by the yearnings of the flesh. In 1 John 3:9 says, John says “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.” So life in the spirit is a Godly life.
The Wind blows Wherever He wishes.
To explain what He means, Jesus says that the wind (pneuma) blows wherever it pleases it. No one can stop it or cage it. You may hear its sound but you cannot predict the direction it is coming from or the direction it is going. From the explanation, this is how it is with everyone born of the Spirit (pneuma).”
This emphasizes that we cannot manipulate or cage the Holy Spirit. This envisages that those who live a life in the spirit are moved by an unseen and powerful force beyond themselves.
They are not caged by the flesh. They are under the control of the Holy Spirit who guides them often to seek and do the will of God. Hence those who are born again live no longer by the desires of the flesh but by the desires of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, everything about their lives is God and how to make God happy.
When we are born again, we change from our former way of life to a new way of life in the spirit. Then instead of wasting time thinking about the next sin we want to commit, we use the time to think about how to serve God.
The life of the Spirit is a new level of spiritual existence. Hence Jesus says that only people who experience this type of life can perceive and enter the Kingdom of God.
This life begins at our baptism which recreates us. It is a life lived in God, for God and with God. Let us then seek to be born from above.
May God bless you dearest and give us the grace to know the secrets of the Kingdom. May He never allow you to stumble Amen