When a mother says she’s going to “change the baby,” what does she mean? How is she going to change it? Into what? You know what she means. But what did Jesus mean when He said, “You must be born again”?
Crickets chirped in the grass. Night birds sang. Quietly Nicodemus walked toward the place where he had heard he could find Jesus. He didn’t want anyone else to see him talking to Jesus.
When he found Jesus, Nicodemus said, “Teacher, we know You came from God! Your miracles tell everybody so!”
Jesus may have smiled in the darkness. He knew that Nicodemus really wanted to believe in Him. But Nicodemus was an important Pharisee, a member of the Jewish council. He came to Jesus late at night because He didn’t want the other Pharisees to know.
Nicodemus knew that Jesus was a teacher sent from God. But he wasn’t sure that Jesus could really be God’s Son.
Jesus looked steadily at him. “Nicodemus,” He said, “miracles are not the most important thing! Unless you are born again, you will not see God’s kingdom.”
“Born again? What does that mean? I can’t go back inside of my mother! I’m a grown man!” Nicodemus exclaimed.
“You’re right, my friend,” Jesus answered. “But I’m not talking about being born physically. I’m talking about being born spiritually. Truthfully, Nicodemus, unless you are reborn by God’s Holy Spirit, you can’t be part of God’s kingdom.”
“I don’t understand,” Nicodemus said thoughtfully.
“Think about the wind for a moment,” Jesus replied. “You can’t see the wind itself. But you can see what happens when the wind blows. You can see the treetops sway and hear the rustling of the leaves. When the Holy Spirit comes into a person’s life, it’s like that. You can’t see inside a person’s heart, their mind. But you see what happens in their life, because their life is new and clean. Their life is changed.”
It was quiet as Nicodemus thought about what Jesus was saying.
“Nicodemus, your physical life came from your parents,” Jesus continued. “But a person’s spiritual life comes from the Holy Spirit. When a person chooses to let God come into his or her life, God helps them change their sinful mind, and gives the person a brand-new one. That’s being born again.
“Nicodemus, I have good news for you! God loves the world so much that He sent His only Son here to save the world. When someone believes in Him, God can give them that brand-new life! And that new life means you are born again! And those born again will receive the gift of eternal life!”
Nicodemus learned something that night that everyone must learn. Jesus loves us so much! He is ready right now to take our sinful hearts and lives and give us new ones! Will you let Him give you that new, clean heart today? Will you be born again? Will you take the gift of eternal life that He wants to give you?
You might want to say something like this to Jesus: “Dear Jesus, thank You for loving me! My life is sinful. Right now I want to give it to You. I ask You to give me a new, clean heart and mind instead. Change my life to be more like Yours. Thank You for Your gift of eternal life. I love You, Jesus! Amen.”
Memory Verse: “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1, NIV).
The Message: God’s love changes us.
References: John 3:1–21; The Desire of Ages, pp. 167–177.
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