There are several ways to become a family member: one is to be born into a family, another is to be adopted into a family, and yet another is to marry into a family. You can very easily unfriend someone on Facebook. Unfriending a friend in real life is more difficult to do, and it gets even more complicated when it comes to family splits. Let’s say a couple goes through a divorce. It may be feasible to become an ex-in-law without ever looking back, but we all know the implications when children are involved. There is no such thing as an Ex-Dad or an Ex-Mom. However, it may be that children emotionally divorce from their parents for various reasons. If that’s the case, then deep hurt led to such friction. The natural thing is that we’re family for life.
In God’s kingdom we are dealing with such family issues. Essentially all mankind consists of God’s children, some are estranged, some are brought near. Peter refers to the event of coming back together as born again. So does Jesus in his conversation with a scholar named Nicodemus. Here is an excerpt of the conversation (John 3:3-5):
“Jesus replied, ‘With all the earnestness I possess I tell you this: Unless you are born again, you can never get into the Kingdom of God.’ – ‘Born again!’ exclaimed Nicodemus. ‘What do you mean? How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?’ – Jesus replied, ‘What I am telling you so earnestly is this: unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God.’”
According to Jesus, the kingdom of God consists of family members only. In order to become a family member human beings have to be born again. Nicodemus’ confusion is understandable. It’s physically unfeasible to insert an already born creature back into the mother’s womb to repeat the birth procedure. So Jesus points out that rebirth is not referring to our physical being but to our spiritual being, and that’s where Jesus lost Nicodemus. Dumbfounded he asks Jesus: ‘What do you mean?’
We can all empathize with Nicodemus, whether we are brought near to the Kingdom of God or whether we’ve managed to stay away from it. Every human being physically arrives at his or her birthday, however, included with the physical package also comes our spiritual being. Some cultures ignore the spiritual aspect of our humanness altogether, while some cultures are very aware. Nevertheless, it’s the spiritual being Jesus is referring to when he uses the terminology ‘born again’. The rebirth of our spiritual being could be compared to an awakening. While sleeping we really have no clue what is going on in the world around us. Similarly, when we’re spiritually asleep, we cannot relate very well to God who is Spirit, and we also have trouble hearing Him.
When we wake up to the reality of the kingdom of God, we wake up to an expanded universe. Have you ever been asleep trying to force yourself to wake up to escape a bad dream? It’s very hard to do, isn’t it? It goes to show that waking up spiritually begs a touch from a special Someone. And this is what the gospel tune “He Touched Me” is about: The song speaks of the hand of Jesus touching and waking up our spiritual being. People who have experienced that touch will tell you that nothing will ever be the same. When Jesus touches you and me, He opens the door to God’s amazing kingdom. Waking up, we’ll be able to see it. Our ears will be unplugged, and to our amazement we will detect God’s voice who has been speaking to us all along. A touch from the Lord is all it takes to wake up.
“He touched me; o He touched me, and o the joy that fills my soul. Something happened and now I know: He touched me and made me whole.” (Bill and Gloria Gaither)