Summary: Jesus' discussion with Nicodemus about the necessity of being born again
Jesus says, “Do not marvel that I said to you, “You must be born again.”” – John 3:7. Reading the entire John 3:1-8 reveals a man, Nicodemus, who had been living in secret, wanting to have all of Jesus and at the same time all of the world.
Verse 1-2 show that:
He was a learned man who understood the laws (a Pharisee)
He was a ruler of the Jews (very powerful and influential)
He was a man who was curious of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.
He was a man who knew there was something different about Crist which fascinated him, which he truly wanted but didn’t have.
Of course, naturally as a wealthy public official he was shy to come open – so he came in the night (vs. 2).
Though confused about spiritual things and keeping it a secret, he at least summed up courage to visit Jesus by night. For this courage I salute Nicodemus.
There are so many people like Nicodemus today who are still living a secretive life of sin, even though they know that the way of holiness is better. They find it difficult to publicly confess and turn their lives over to Jesus because of their status. But if you are such a person, I salute your courage for still coming to church today. Even though you are still at a level where you which your school mates, work colleagues, community / town or country people should not know that you attend church or that you are a fan of Jesus.
It only took one day for Nicodemus to know the truth; today you too will know the truth in Jesus name.
The truth that Jesus taught Nicodemus was that he must be born again; this is the same truth I say to you today that, “You must be born again.” This means you must be regenerated if you want to see, enter into and enjoy the kingdom of God. You cannot have Jesus on one hand and the world on the other. To have Jesus you must be reborn.
This was the content of the Apostles’ doctrines being taught to the early church. The received this type of teaching and grew thereby.
Nicodemus received these teachings from Jesus that he must be born again, meaning he must be saved from his old ways into the way of God – leaning no longer on his piety as a Pharisee but on the righteousness and cleansing blood of Jesus.
When a person receives and accepts this apostolic teaching, the person repents their sins, accepts Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, is then baptized of water and the Holy Spirit. Following this is the regeneration process of dying to the old self and growing back alive to a new lifestyle.
The dictionary.com defines “regeneration as “Spiritual rebirth, religious revival, the restoration or new growth by an organism of organs, tissues, etc., that have been lost, removed or injured.”
This is what is meant in Ezek. 36:26 when God said, “I will give you a new heart …”
How is regeneration done?
Not by work of righteousness but according to the mercy of God (Titus 3:5; 1 Pet. 1:3)
Through the word of God which lives in us as we continue to hear them (1 Pet. 1:23)