There was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a Jewish leader. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God, for no one could do these miraculous signs that you do unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus answered, “I assure you, unless someone is born anew, it’s not possible to see God’s kingdom.” 4 Nicodemus asked, “How is it possible for an adult to be born? It’s impossible to enter the mother’s womb for a second time and be born, isn’t it?” 5 Jesus answered, “I assure you, unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, it’s not possible to enter God’s kingdom. 6 Whatever is born of the flesh is flesh, and whatever is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Don’t be surprised that I said to you, ‘You must be born anew.’ 8 God’s Spirit blows wherever it wishes. You hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. It’s the same with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” 9 Nicodemus said, “How are these things possible?” 10 “Jesus answered, “You are a teacher of Israel and you don’t know these things? 11 I assure you that we speak about what we know and testify about what we have seen, but you don’t receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you about earthly things and you don’t believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13 No one has gone up to heaven except the one who came down from heaven, the Human One. 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so must the Human One be lifted up 15 so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life. 16 God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him won’t perish but will have eternal life. 17 God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through him. (John 3:1-17, CEB)
You must be born anew this translation says. If you have read or heard this passage in worship before you probably heard this as born again. This is the place we hear about being born again. And of course of that is what Nicodemus was told he would be confused. I mean how can a person enter their mother’s womb again and be born again? At least anew is a little easier to understand.
But does anew really get it?
The word in the Greek means again, anew, or from above. Which then it makes a whole lot more sense to me. You have to be born of water and of Spirit. Now everyone who is born on earth is born of water. There is a lot of fluid that is water like at a birth. And the Spirit enters a person when God so chooses for it to happen. So if you have the Spirit, you are born of water and the Spirit, and this is born from above, or anew.
Not reentering the mother’s womb, but done by God.
Know you are a part of the kingdom and go and help others know that too.
Love People. Love God.