I’ve never thought long and hard on these words of Jesus from John 3. To be saved, one must be born again . . . really? Like a newborn babe from his mother’s womb? No wonder Nicodemus was baffled! What kind of nonsense was this carpenter teaching?
But it isn’t nonsense. It’s God’s glorious grace.
In that midnight meeting, Jesus told the shamefaced Pharisee not to marvel at this. He spoke the gospel in simple, human terms so that we would understand. So let’s think of it in simple, human terms.
“You must be born again.”
New life doesn’t happen overnight. Over the course of forty weeks, from the moment of conception til the first gasp for air, a little bundle of joy is being knit together by his Creator and lovingly prepared for life outside of the womb.
But the work doesn’t end there. (Hardly.) Since the beginning of time, children are brought into the world through pain. (You can thank Eve for that one.)
Photo creds to Aaron Bean
A week ago I had the glorious privilege of watching my nephew make such a grand entrance. It was miraculous and delightful. But I also watched my dear sister suffer intensely to bring him life. It was heartbreaking and painful.
The baby was crying, my sister was crying, I was crying . . . we all were crying . . . yet there was so much joy! For though there was overwhelming, terrible suffering, with it came new life, peace, and indescribable love.
That’s when it hit me for the first time: This is what Christ endured for me! This is gospel! It’s miraculous, terrible, delightful, painful, and overwhelming all at the same time.
What Wondrous Love is This
With joy Jesus experienced suffering and death because of His great love for His child . . . for me, who will never know or fully understand what her loving parent endured for her sake.
You’re right, Nicodemus. It’s impossible for a grown man to re-enter his mother’s womb. It’s impossible to be born again. But that’s what the gospel is all about. We have a Father who is the God of the impossible.
So have faith. Cling to His grace, rejoice in His mercy, and rest in His goodness.
And love on those dear, sweet babies!
Jesus answered, “Truly, truly I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”