I have thoroughly enjoyed our study of one of the greatest chapters in the entire Bible--John 3! It has been refreshing and simply helpful for my heart. We come now to the crux of it all--the main message Jesus brings to Nicodemus: The Man with Many Questions. His words are concise--“Ye must be born again…” (v.7)
But why did Jesus use the picture of birth to help Nicodemus understand how to be saved? Here are a few thoughts of why I believe the illustration of a new birth resonates with the hearts of people who have questions about salvation. It may answers some questions you have about salvation, or prove to be an effective witnessing tool when sharing the Gospel with an unbeliever.
Birth is the beginning of a life
From the very moment of conception a new life begins. It develops for some time in the womb and then the labor pains begin. After a while a baby is born, the umbilical cord is cut, and a new journey on earth has begun. It’s an exciting thing isn’t it?
This is the spiritual picture that Jesus was trying to paint for Nicodemus. The law brought death, but love brought life everlasting! Nicodemus was a man of the law and yet he felt a hole in his heart that only a new birth could fulfill. It was a new start-- a clean slate.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
Birth is a familiar picture to all
Everyone can relate to birth. We have all experienced it and we can all understand this monumental aspect of humanity.
Jesus often times used familiar pictures to explain heavenly principles. We see this in many of His parables. I believe Jesus is teaching us that the new birth is for everyone! There is no one outside the reach of the Gospel! That is why we must “…Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. (Mark 16:15). For “…how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14).
There are two parents
Just like in life, there are two parents to every child that is born again through faith in Jesus Christ. First, the Spirit of God.
“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5).
The Holy Spirit convicts someone of their sin and shows them their need of a Savior. (John16:7-11). It is through the Spirit that a man is drawn to the truth of God and brought to repentance.
Which brings us to the second parent of the new birth--The Word of God.
1 Peter 1:23-25 says, “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.”
Oh blessed be the Word of God that gives light in a dark world! It is through the light of the Gospel that man has hope of eternal life in Jesus! The moment that you put your trust in the Gospel (death, burial, and resurrection), is the moment that you become part of the family of God for “…he begat us with the word of truth.” (James 1:18).
And once a part of the family of God, you take on a new nature of your parents. 2 Peter 1:4 sates, “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”
As one preacher said, “You receive a new start with a new heart!”
Birth causes travail
There is no question at all that the pains of child-birth are excruciating. I’ve watched my wife give birth to our precious daughter and I can certainly say my wife has a determination like no other! The pain and mental stress of it all were difficult at the time, but the joy that came out of that was worth it all!
It is much the same in regards to being born again. Much travail and agony was suffered so that the joy of a new life could be made possible.
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2).
Jesus endured the cross for YOU! It is through his great suffering that redemption was made available to all that believe.