Born Again

John 3: 1-8
Acts 4: 23-31 / Psa 2

…no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.
(John 3:3)

We must be “born of the Spirit”
If we seek to reach perfection...
Take up our cross and not fear it,
It will bring us to salvation.

There was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.” Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” Nicodemus asked, “How can someone be born again when they are old? Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (John 3:1-8)

Reflection

Nicodemus did not understand what our Lord Jesus meant when He said one must be born again to be able to see the kingdom of God. Jesus had to explain that one had to be born of water (Baptism) and of the Spirit as well (Confirmation) before one could “see” (understand) this new Covenant that Jesus was offering. Our Lord gave a beautiful analogy of the wind, which we cannot see, but the reality of which nobody can deny. Nicodemus’ predicament represented the basic problem of the Jewish leadership: the discerning eye to see beyond the obvious; the wisdom to accept as real what could not be seen or understood. Jesus made him understand that he must ‘see’ things divine not with the flesh, but with the spirit.

In his letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul explains why people like Nicodemus (before his conversion) are unable to grasp what being “born again” really means. He said, “The natural person does not accept what pertains to the Spirit of God but considers it foolishness; he cannot understand it because it is discerned spiritually… But we have the mind of Christ” (1Cor.2:14,16).

We became intimate followers of our lord Jesus when we experienced being “born again” in our community’s “Baptism in the Holy Spirit” session many years ago. From then on we began to take our faith more seriously. We did not have to understand everything, or even anticipate what may or may not be, but we just put our trust in the Lord, and in His Word, the Bible. Through His Word, we began to see things more differently. For instance, trials and tragedies no longer depress us, but instead they make us more prayerful. We are assured by the words of St. James, who said, “the testing of your faith produces perseverance … leading to perfection” (Ja.1:3-4). We have also come to experience genuine love in our community. Now that we are one in the Spirit, we find it easy and practical to obey the command of our Lord Jesus Who said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35). Being born again is seeing with eyes of love.

We praise and thank You, Father God for giving us new life in Your Spirit, making us see that what really matters is seeking Your kingdom, and being righteous in all our ways. May nothing in this life on earth ever distract us from our eternal goal, which is to follow our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

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