We Must be Born Two Times

Some things that Jesus says are difficult to understand.  This could be said of his comments to a prominent religious leader named Nicodemus in John 3:1-21.  Nicodemus comes to visit Jesus at night, likely because he didn't want to publicly associate with this itinerant rabbi from the sticks, but even though he comes secretly, Nicodemus can't deny that Jesus is from God.  As Nicodemus is admitting this, Jesus responds with a comment that comes somewhat out of nowhere: “Truly, truly I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see kingdom of heaven.” (v. 3)  Jesus cuts to the chase, seemingly anticipating why Nicodemus has come at all.  Nicodemus wants to know, if Jesus is indeed the Messiah, the one to bring God’s Kingdom to earth, then who gets into this Kingdom, who has eternal life?  Jesus answers: only those who are born again.   

Why is this second birth so important and what is Jesus talking about when he talks about being born again?  The term "born again" was popularized by Jimmy Carter during his presidency, and in our culture today, it has weird connotations.  But regardless of what you've heard or think you know about what it means to be born again, doesn't it make sense to see what Jesus meant by it and to see why He thought it was so important? 

John 3:1-21

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