Jesus Teaches Nicodemus

Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no-one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him. In reply Jesus declared, I tell you the truth, no-one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again. How can a man be born when he is old? Nicodemus asked. Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born! Jesus answered, I tell you the truth, no-one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit. How can this be? Nicodemus asked. You are Israel's teacher, said Jesus, and do you not understand these things? I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things
and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? No-one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven- the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 
John 3:1-17

Born again (Christianity)

In Christianity, being born again represents a spiritual and metaphorical rebirth,
accepting Jesus as the Messiah and receiving the Holy Spirit.
The origin of the term "born again" is the New Testament:
"Jesus replied, 'Very truly I tell you,
no one can see the kingdom of God without being born again.'"
John 3:3


According to John 3:5, Jesus originated the term "born again" (alternately translated "born from above") while teaching Nicodemus, a rabbi of the Jewish sect known as the Pharisees. Jesus explained to Nicodemus that every person must have two births—the natural birth of the physical body, the other of the regenerated spirit. Jesus' discourse with Nicodemus established the Christian belief that all human beings—whether Jew or Gentile—must be "born again" of the spiritual seed of Christ.

The Apostle Peter further reinforced this understanding:
For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable,
through the living and enduring word of God.
1 Peter 1:23

Jesus Christ used the "birth" analogy in tracing spiritual newness of life to a divine beginning. Contemporary Christian theologians have provided explanations for "born from above" being a more accurate translation of the original Greek word transliterated anothen. Theologian Frank Stagg cites two reasons why the newer translation is significant:

   1. The emphasis "from above" (implying "from Heaven") calls attention to the source of the "newness of life." Stagg writes that the word "again" does not include the source of the new kind of beginning.

   2. More than personal improvement is needed. "...a new destiny requires a new origin, and the new origin must be from God."

Christian Testimonies: The Stories of Our Lives

Christian testimonies are the stories told by believers about what God has done and is doing in their lives. Today, we often think of the word "testimonial" in which people offer their personal experiences with a product. In this case, the encounter being described is with a person-the person of God in Jesus Christ.

Why do Christian stories and testimony matter? Your experience with God as a believer is exactly that-your experience with God! Surely your life has been enhanced by the advice or true life story of another person. We are unique, but we have the common bond of being created by the same God. Therefore, even if we've stuffed different programs in along the way, we all have basically the same operating system! We are all bodies made by God.

My experience with God happens within my lifetime. It happens only once, to me. God has put me here, in this place and time, in order to tell others about what He has done and is doing in my life. As a Christian, do you really grasp this? Whatever you're going through, whether it's joyful or painful, is allowed into your life by a loving God, whose goal for you is to become like His Son, Jesus Christ.

Because God wants to transform you, He allowed your life to follow the path it did before you became a believer in order that you would recognize His work at some point along the way. Now, seeing it, you are responsible to tell others what He has done. That is your Christian testimony! Maybe you've been a Christian for an hour, a day, or for years. What is He doing in your life now? That is your Christian testimony. You are an eyewitness to the works of Jesus Christ in your life.

Knowing God personally

What does it take to begin a relationship with God?

further readings:

Pass It On

see also:
quotes 9
quotes 11
quotes 12
quotes 13

Open the ears of the many
longing to hear your voice
who, deafened by the world,
have yet to hear you speak.

Bring them to a quiet place
where they can be at peace
and, in a moment's stillness,
let them hear your words
of comfort, love and grace,
so that in days that follow
they may discern your call
through this world's noise
and know that you are there.

(c) John Birch,