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Know God in a Year #46 Seriously?

Jesus knows Nicodemus feels secure in God’s favor, believing that his good deeds and liberal giving earn him a place in God’s kingdom. So Jesus goes deep, saying, “You can’t enter God’s kingdom unless you are born again.” Birth was a common metaphor used for converts to Judaism. This isn’t a foreign concept to him, but confrontation is.

Nicodemus is surprised and momentarily his composure slips. He shows his irritation in irony. “Seriously? Can a man get back into his mother’s womb when he is old?” He is astonished that his “righteousness” isn’t good enough.

Jesus saves his own irony for later, now He simply says, “Seriously, unless you are born of water and Spirit, you can’t even see the kingdom of God.”

Nicodemus knows that Jesus is talking about baptism and the Holy Spirit. He and his peers had rejected John’s baptism. They felt no need of repentance; they felt secure in doing everything right.

He is convicted that John’s message was preparation for Messiah. But he is confused.

So Jesus, loving this honest-hearted seeker, illustrates heart-religion using the wind. “Spirit works like the wind; you don’t know where it comes from or where it goes; you can hear it, but you can’t see it. You only see its results.” He knows Nicodemus has read about Ezekiel’s “new heart.”

Nicodemus can only reply, “How can this be?”

Now, Jesus’ irony, “You are a teacher, and you don’t understand this?”

Even though Jesus confronts him, his tone is kind, his look so full of love, it draws the rabbi to him.

John 3:1-9   Ezekiel 11:19, 18: 31, 36:26

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