#DailyDevotion Are You Born From Above?
3 Now, there was a Pharisee by the name of Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish council. 2He came to Jesus one night. “Rabbi,” he said to Him, “we know You’re a teacher who has come from God. No one can do these miracles You do unless God is with him.” 3“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered him, “if anyone isn’t born from above, he can’t see God’s kingdom.” 4“How can anyone be born when he’s old?” Nicodemus asked Him. “He can’t go back into his mother’s womb and be born again, can he?” 5“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered him, “if anyone isn’t born of water and the Spirit, he can’t get into God’s kingdom. 6Anything born of the flesh is flesh, but anything born of the Spirit is spirit. 7Don’t be surprised when I tell you you must all be born from above. The wind blows where it pleases and you hear the sound of it, but you don’t know where it’s coming from or where it’s going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” 9“How can that be?” Nicodemus asked Him. 10“You are the teacher in Israel,” Jesus said to him, “and don’t know this? 11I tell you the truth, We tell what We know, and We testify to what we have seen. But you people don’t accept our testimony. 12If you don’t believe the earthly things I told you, how will you believe Me if I tell you heavenly things?
People are kind of strange, are we not? Here we have a teacher of Israel who believes God is with Jesus yet comes to him in the dead of night because he is afraid of his fellow ruling Jews. It’s like he has completely forgotten his Old Testament lessons about how God was with David and those with David always fared well while those who opposed David always fared poorly. So are you an open disciple of Jesus, trusting what the LORD says about those who are with him or do you secretly follow him in fear of what other may think and do to you?
But nevertheless, Jesus sees our great weakness and instructs us concerning the kingdom of God and salvation. If we would enter the kingdom of God be must be born from above (many translations say again but above is better). That is to say we must be born of God. Now Nicodemus thinks again instead of above because he asks about entering the womb a second time. But there is no reincarnation. Jesus explains we must be born of the water and the Spirit. Jesus is not saying merely getting wet makes us born from above but that the Holy Spirit must be operative in this baptism. Paul in Eph. 5 says that we are cleansed by the “water and the word.” The Word and the Spirit always go together giving birth in and through the water to give us new life. Yes, the Spirit with the Word, the name of God, attaches himself to the water so we may be certain and sure of God’s action here gives us faith and regenerates our spirit and makes it alive again.
Yes we must be “born…of God” John tells in 1:13. The flesh, our old Adam can only give birth to flesh. As the Law testifies in Gen. 5:1 we begotten into this world according the image and likeness of Adam after the fall. He was dead and Eve was dead, without the Spirit of God or his life in them as they gave birth to children. So if we are to have life, if we are to enter God’s kingdom, then we must be born from above, born of the Spirit, born of God. The Spirit gives birth to spirit through the word of God, i.e. the promises of God. In baptism we have the promise of God putting his name on us and making us his temples. There he gives us his Holy Spirit and gives us life again and makes us his children.
Merciful God and Father, you give us new birth from above through the water and the word of baptism. Grant us true faith through these means so we may truly be your children and live forever with you in your kingdom. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.