Daily Dose, Feb. 25 — New Birth

Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.”

Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” (John 3:1-3)

I can’t tell you exactly when the first time was that I heard the phrase. Growing up in the church, it seems that the phrase -- and the general concept -- of being “born again” has sort of always been with me. I heard sermons about it. I heard Sunday School teachers talk about it. Eventually, I’d hear youth directors talk about it and college ministry pastors talk about it. But knowing the phrase and knowing the phrase’s implications and applications are very different things.

Nicodemus makes a risky nighttime visit to Jesus. He’s putting a lot of his own reputation on the line by even being in Jesus’ presence. Nevertheless, he seeks Jesus out. That’s a fairly critical detail. This isn’t a chance encounter where Jesus happened to be passing by and Nicodemus chatted him up before Jesus moved on to the next set of people. Nicodemus was deliberate. He was intentional. He wanted a guide, and he sought out Jesus.

Seeking Jesus out is part of what it means to be born again. Until we seek Jesus, we won’t know what his words, his life, his death and his resurrection have to say to us. Until we seek Jesus, we will only be guessing. Nicodemus came to Jesus BECAUSE he didn’t understand things, BECAUSE he had questions, BECAUSE he wasn’t clear. Nicodemus wasn’t fully formed in a spiritual sense…the truth that Christ could offer hadn’t been born in him yet. But…he sought Jesus. New birth begins when we seek Jesus. It was true for Nicodemus, and it’s true for us. -- Rev. Brad Greene