12 January 2010

John 3 - you must be born again

< John 2 | Index | John 4 >

How do people come to believe in Yahshua (Jesus)? What is the process? John 3 provides an example and Yahshua's unexpected response.

Nicodemus was a Jewish leader, a member of the Governing Council (the Sanhedrin), A newly born babythe ultimate religious and civil power under the Romans themselves. To bring this into perspective, imagine Nicodemus as an archbishop and a cabinet minister rolled into one. This religious and political heavyweight came to see Yahshua already convinced that he came from the Almighty. Not every member of the Sanhedrin would have agreed, but for Nicodemus the miracles were sufficient evidence. He knew this man was sent, perhaps a great prophet, maybe even the Messiah, but he wasn't yet thinking in terms of the Son of the Most High. This would have been a very difficult concept and wouldn't have occured to Nicodemus.

So what did Yahshua say to him? 'You must be born again. This time not of water, but of the Spirit.' Nicodemus must have thought, 'Uh?'

So the Lord explained in more detail. An outpouring of water from the womb is part of the process of natural birth by which a person enters this world. But there's a second birth and part of that process is an outpouring of the Spirit. In neither case are we talking about a negligible amount. In both cases there's a sudden flow where before there had been nothing.

Without this 'second birth', it's not possible even to see the Almighty's Kingdom.

Of course Nicodemus still doesn't get it, Yahshua is speaking mysteries here. Until the time of Pentecost it will remain a mystery even to the twelve disciples. Nonetheless, Nicodemus believed this Yahshua was someone special, a great teacher. He became a follower (see John 7:45-53 and John 19:38-42).

'How can this be?' he asks again.

Yahshua replies, 'You're Israel's Teacher, don't you understand these things?'

This hints at Nicodemus' status, perhaps he had a special responsibility for interpreting and teaching the ancient scriptures. If he can't understand, nobody can!

And then Yahshua points him to a scriptural analogy that Nicodemus does understand. Read Numbers 21:4-9, then John 3:13-21. Do you see the parallel? This would have made some sense to Nicodemus and he surely would have remembered it later after the crucifixion and resurrection.

What was the key for the bronze snake to be effective to save life? The poisoned person must look at the snake, must see the snake. And so with the Messiah, if he is to be effective you must look at him, you must see him, you must understand who he truly is and know that in seeing and believing you have recieved eternal life.

< John 2 | Index | John 4 >

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