John 3:4 – “Nicodemus said to Him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old?'”
As an adult Jewish male living in Israel, Yeshua was required to travel to Jerusalem three times a year to observe the convocational feasts. During the first Passover of His public ministry, Jesus made quite an impression at the Temple. Jewish people from all over the world were in Jerusalem for the feast. Gentiles were there observing the worship of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob’s God. The flagrant commercialism of what was to be a Holy Convocation in His Father’s house infuriated the Son of God.
The poor, the powerful. The Sadducees, the Pharisees. Tax collectors. Zealots. Turning over the tables of merchants and money changers, He caught everyone by surprise. Imagine the scene. Everyone wanted to know…
One of the curious ones was a man named Nicodemus, a Pharisee, a rabbi, the leader of a rabbinic school, and a member of the Sanhedrin. John 3:1-21 records a curious night-time conversation between Yeshua and Nicodemus.
Nicodemus recognized the miraculous deeds of Jesus and what He was saying as “coming from God.” In response, Jesus answered,
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again (anothen – from above), he cannot see the kingdom of God. – John 3:3
Born again? Nicodemus was confused. “How can a man be born when he is old?” Like many of his time, Nicodemus reacted to Jesus’ comment out of his cultural worldview. As far as Nicodemus was concerned, his physical birth (of water) as a Jew was sufficient to guarantee his entrance into God’s coming kingdom. But what is this “when he is old?”
Pharisaic Judaism taught that a man could be “born again” six different times, four of which could apply to Nicodemus.
To me, all of this information is interesting. It informs us about Nicodemus’ question about being born again “when he is old.” Everyone views what is around them and their place within it through the lens of a personal worldview. But we know (or should) that our perceptions are flawed. We don’t know what we don’t know.
Jesus met Nicodemus where he was and opened his mind and heart to something more, birth from above! Next week, we will see Jesus meeting someone else, a woman with a different worldview. They both needed what Jesus offered. Both were “born from above” and changed forever.
What about you?
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