Summary: A challenge contrasting the new life in Christ with the religious life that satisfy the most of mankind.
A NEW BEGINNING
“Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.’ Jesus answered him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?’ Jesus answered, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.’
“Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can these things be?’ Jesus answered him, ‘Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.’
”‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
You have undoubtedly at some point in life found yourself wishing you could begin again. Perhaps you became disappointed in your career, realising that you had not accomplished all that you would have hoped to accomplish. Perhaps you just had a heated argument with your spouse and in a fit of self-pity you groused to yourself about life would have been different if someone else had shared your life. Likely, you were disappointed and found yourself wishing you could start over in life.
We age, and aspirations that once glowed brightly fade into distant memories. Training and careers that at one time loomed large on our horizon fade into a past marked with multiplied regrets. It is somewhat amazing to note that wishing to begin again is not restricted to those who have attained advanced age. Youth are perhaps as prone to wish for another chance, a new beginning, as are their elders.
Life is a flowing stream and the moments go by quickly, never to be repeated. Life is defined by opportunities, many of which we create ourselves. Whether the opportunities are seized or missed is dependent upon our decisions at the time of opportunity. Seldom do we have a realistic expectation of beginning again. However, I am convinced that we can begin again. We can have a second chance. Especially can we have a second chance at life that will fulfil our inmost, often unspoken, desires.