YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN
Rebirth means coming out differently than you went in.
If you want to enter–
the realm of the spirit,
the kingdom of God,
you have to spiritually be born anew, regenerated, from on high.
The only way to do this is to hear, see and encounter truth,
truth about who you are, why you’re here and where you’re going.
The moment you wake up, it’s like a new birth, as if you’re spiritually coming alive. This is that quickening moment.
Some quickening moments happen in an instant. Some happen over the course of time and as a result of culminating events, but regardless of how it happens, you will never be the same again.
In the New Testament, book of John, third chapter, Jesus does the best job I’ve ever heard of describing the quickening to Nicodemus. Let’s look at what he says.
In the following passage, I am using the New International Version with the King James of the Book of John as a reference. I’m also reading from the Greek linear Bible and consulting Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance. Bolded areas are my own thoughts.
FLESH IS FLESH. SPIRIT IS SPIRIT.
That which is born of flesh is flesh. That which is born of spirit is spirit.
Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council.
2 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.”
He came to Jesus at night because Nicodemus was a religious teacher of Judaism and Jesus had no credentials in the religious or academic circles of his day and culture. In other words, Nicodemus was a member of the “experts” and Jesus was just a guy from Nazareth.
3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see (perceive, comprehend) the kingdom (realm, way) of God (the Supreme Divinity) unless they are born again (from above, on high).[a]”
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!”
5 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter (come into) the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit (God’s spirit). 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit[b] gives birth to spirit.
A person is born into this world via the flesh, the physical, and we live in a body made of flesh, but we are not flesh. We only live in flesh. We are spirit and when we are born into the flesh body, we can only comprehend physical things unless we are reborn, regenerated, awakened from on high to spiritual things, i.e. The Kingdom of God, the Eternal Way.
YOU CAN’T IMPRISON THE WIND
You can’t imprison the wind!
7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You[c] must be born again.’ 8 The wind (Spirit) 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.”[d]
The Greek word used for wind here is identical to the one used for Spirit, “pneuma” and it means a current that is breath or a breeze, a life spirit, a divine spirit.
You can hear and see the effects of the Spirit of God, the Way of Life, but you can’t contain it, control it, or determine which direction it is going to move, just as you can’t control or predict the wind.
I am thinking of how, even with all our modern technology, we can’t always accurately predict the activity of hurricanes and tornadoes. We don’t know exactly where they’re going to touch down or what they’re going to do. Sometimes tornadoes pop up that weren’t even on the forecast and newscasters can only assess them after the fact.
There is a line from the movie, China Cry, where Lam Nang Ye tells the Chinese military general that in order to lock God away, you’d have to imprison the wind. It can’t be done, not with force, not with coercion, not with technology or threats. You can’t imprison the wind. And you cannot control the Spirit of God that resides in each of us and when we are regenerated, reborn, awakened from on high, we are like a wind.
9 “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.
10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things?
Again, Nicodemus was the “expert.”
LIGHT HAS COME INTO THE WORLD AND DARKNESS JUST DOESN’T GET IT!
Light has come into the world but those who live only for this world do not understand it.
11 Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still, you people do not accept our testimony (evidence given, stated).”
I find it interesting that Jesus uses the term “we” in this statement. Why? Who is the “we” and “our” of which he speaks? Could it mean all those who had come and tried to explain the Way of God? In another place he spoke of how the Jews had stoned the prophets and messengers from God instead of believing them. Could he be speaking of all those who bring messages of eternal truth? When he says, “You people do not accept our testimony.” In the Linear Greek Bible it reads more like he is saying, “And still, you people do not get it.”
So, I understand this verse as thus: “I tell you. Here’s the way it is. All of us who have come from God (including the prophets and teachers who came before me) have tried to explain the way the Realm of the Spirit, the Kingdom of God operates, and still, you people, with your man-made degrees, religious doctrines, rules, laws, and credentials, just don’t get it.” That which is born of flesh is flesh and that which is born of spirit is spirit and the earthly mind will never comprehend spirit. Spirit speaks to spirit.
12 I have spoken to you of earthly things, and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?
13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man.[e] 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,[f] 15 that everyone who believes in him should not perish but may have eternal life.”[g]
From the Greek: No one has ever entered into the abode of God except the one who came from there—the Child/Offspring of the Human race. Just as Moses hoisted up the serpent in a desolate place, so it is necessary that the representative of the Human race must be hoisted up so that all people who adhere to, trust in, and cling to his words would not destroy life, lose life, or perish, but have perpetual (continuously renewed) life because of him.
The life Jesus offers those who trust him isn’t just in the hereafter, but in the now. The peace he offers is NOW. The promises he offers for those who trust him is far superior to anything we can gain in this world; the peace surpasses any and all amounts of human understanding. I am thinking of an old song that says, “I’d rather have Jesus than anything this world affords today.”
A PURPOSEFUL, HAPPY, FULFILLED LIFE–NOW AND FOREVER
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Because the Supreme Divinity agapao (valued, accepted, and appreciated without regard to conditions or circumstances) the inhabitants of earth he brought forth and delivered his sole offspring that all people who committed to and trusted him should not lose life, destroy their lives, or be lost from their way, but have perpetual existence.
17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn (punish) the world (people), but to save (heal, deliver, protect, make whole) the world (people) through him.
Wow! What a departure from things so many people have heard. Do you hear this? Jesus didn’t come into this world to start a religion.
He didn’t come to punish people for their errors.
He came as a result of LOVE, and he came from LOVE because God is LOVE.
He came so that anyone who hears his words and believes them, who follows the Way, would have a blessed, happy, healthy, complete, and fulfilled life. No matter where you’ve been, what you’ve done, what lie you’ve believed, Jesus brings this message to you. GOD IS FOR YOU, NOT AGAINST YOU.
LOVE is not an emotion. LOVE is the WAY! And the ONLY means to having a truly happy life is to walk in the WAY. If we live only for ourselves and what we can attain in this life, if the only hope we have is in this life, we will be miserable people.
BE IT UNTO YOU AS YOU BELIEVE
18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
If we refuse to believe the message of Jesus, if we refuse to trust him, to commit to following his words, to walking in the Way, we are punished already, not because God is punishing us but because we are choosing to walk contrary to the guidance of the Divine Spirit. The only way to have inner peace, joy, fulfillment, and contentment is to walk according to the Way. If we choose not to follow the Way, we end up punishing ourselves.
19 This is the verdict (justice, condemnation): Light (illumination) has come into the world (inhabitants of earth), but people loved (valued and appreciated) darkness (obscurities, shadiness) instead of light (illumination) because their deeds (efforts, toil, works, acts) were evil (hurtful, degenerate, diseased, derelict, malicious, grievous, harmful, facinorous, guilting, culpable—unkind, unmerciful.)
20 Everyone who does evil hates the light and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.
21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
Think of ANY, and I mean ANY, thing that people do to others that cause pain, destruction, hopelessness, etc. (evil) and I will tell you there is a lack of love, i.e., a lack of God’s Way. Love does nothing to cause intentional pain to others.
Whenever we ignore that inner gnawing that we have stepped off the path and continue, little-by-little, transgressing our own moral boundaries, our own souls, we start down a slippery slope that can explain away any immoral behavior until we find ourselves doing things we never imagined we would do and involved in things we never imagined we’d be involved in.
Yet, no matter where we are or what we’ve done, if we come to our senses IN THAT QUICKENING MOMENT and realize we’ve been walking the road of pleasing self and/or others instead of the road of LOVE (the Way), doing things God’s way, we can make a shift. We can change. We can surrender to the Way and the Way is LOVE. When we do, God, LOVE itself, meets us and wraps spiritual arms around us and all the forces of the universe work together for our good, to bring us to a place of inner peace, which is the true and only measure of success.
Jesus said, “I am the WAY…” Do you know why he said that?
Because he is LOVE. He is LOVE because he came from LOVE.
For John 4:7-8 says, “Beloved, let us love one another, for everyone that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not, knoweth not God for God is Love. So, beloved, let us love one another.”
When we make that shift, that change, our entire perspective on life and all our values shift. In the next blog post I will discuss what these changes might look like.
- John 3:3 & 7: The Greek for again also means from above.
- John 3:6 Or but spirit
- John 3:7 The Greek is plural.
- John 3:8 The Greek for Spirit is the same as that for wind.
- John 3:13 Some manuscripts Man, who is in heaven
- John 3:14 The Greek for lifted up also means exalted.
- John 3:15 Some interpreters end the quotation with verse 21.
John 3 NIV – Jesus Teaches Nicodemus – Now there was – Bible Gateway
(33) China Cry (1990) | Trailer | Julia Nickson-Soul | Russell Wong | James Shigeta | France Nuyen – YouTube