The apostle Paul was a missionary at heart. Traveling around the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, he spread the gospel and started new church groups everywhere. To keep in touch with his various congregations, he wrote many letters. Some of his letters became widely known as Paul’s epistles in the New Testament. In his letter to the Greek congregation at Corinth, Paul explained that we become a new creation when we believe.
A new creation – what exactly does this mean? Nicodemus, a religious leader and contemporary of Jesus Christ, wondered about that. One day he set out to ask Jesus this very question, although he knew that his reputation would be at stake if he was seen with Him in public. In the eyes of the religious elite Jesus was considered an outlaw; and so Nicodemus arranged a private meeting under the cover of night. After a brief introduction, Jesus replied to his question before he even asked (John 3:3):
“Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”
Jesus must have hit a nerve since Nicodemus immediately asked a follow up question (John 3:4):
“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”
In response to his skepticism, Jesus went on to explain that a new mindset is just as original as newborn life. While physical birth generates a brand-new being, spiritual birth generates a brand-new believer, and for that we have to thank the Holy Spirit.
In the first chapter of the book of Genesis we read about God’s Spirit brooding over a formless mass to overcome chaos and create new life. Imagine – just image for a minute how this powerful Holy Spirit, who has created the entire universe, is now hovering over an accepting human heart. Wouldn’t you think that He leaves a lasting impression?
I am sure Nicodemus had plenty of food for thought after meeting with Jesus and hearing about spiritual birth. We too need to ask our questions and seek for honest answers. Believing Jesus, we will never be the same.