Daily Readings and Thought for October 11th. “UNLESS ONE IS BORN OF WATER AND THE SPIRIT…”
These words of Jesus to Nicodemus, the Jewish teacher and “a ruler of the Jews” who came to him by night, challenge our thinking and understanding. We read them today at the start of ch. 3 in John’s gospel. We need to understand them within the context of the unfolding words of Jesus. Many who see themselves as Christians like to say they are “born again,” but what did Jesus mean when he said “unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God ?”
Nicodemus admitted. “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him” [John 3 v.2] His words lead Jesus to respond, “unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” [v.3]. The ESV footnote says, ‘the Greek is purposely ambiguous and can mean both again and from above” This means, we believe, the action of God in responding to what he sees in the heart of the one seeking to be re-born.
We recall God’s words through Isaiah, “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him (or her) who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.” [57 v.15]
It is clear there needs to be a ‘rebirth’ in the heart of one who is genuinely “born again” because of the action of the Creator, who is above. The visible action of this is then created by the person themselves in being ‘born of water’ as happened on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2 v.37,38).
Later in today’s chapter we note that John Baptist’s disciples comment on how “all are going to him” (Jesus) and “look he is baptising” [v.26,22; 4 v.1,2 – the disciples of Jesus doing the baptising]
However, many were “not receiving his testimony”! Then Jesus bluntly states, “Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true” [v.33] This reaction to Jesus’ teaching is evidence that this person is also born of … the spirit. The opposite of this is, “He who is of the earth, belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way” [v.31]. We must ask ourselves – in what way do we speak? Is there clear evidence that we have been born of water and of the spirit? We must each “examine (y)ourselves” See and meditate on 2nd Cor. 13 v.5.