3:3) This appears to have little to do with Nicodemus’s commendation, and thus he is confused as he responds. He asks Jesus, mistaking his words as literal, “How can a man be born when he is old?” (John 3:4) To which Jesus clarifies: “Except a man be born of water and of the spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of Heaven.” (John 3:5) He continues to explain this principle of rebirth through the Biblical example of Moses and the nature of God’s love.
Nicodemus’s questions function to show what being born again is not: it is not a physical rebirth nor a supernatural occurrence. Jesus refers neither to reincarnation nor a birth of someone who is old; He instead explains a mundane practice that has transcendent implications. Being born again is a practice that begins with being born “of water and of the spirit” (John 3:5) but continues as a way to live one’s life afterwards, therefore being “reborn” from previous thought patterns and ideals into a spiritual mindset.
This is shown through Nicodemus’s further questioning as he asks Jesus, “How can these things be?” (John 3:9) Like many modern Christians, Nicodemus no longer considers being born again a physical event but otherwise does not know how to become born again and what that implies. Jesus asks Nicodemus a question in return: “If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, when I tell ye of heavenly things?” (John 3:12) Jesus’s answer clarifies His previous definition as a practice that brings about a mystical response in the person as they undergo it. ...
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...o Jesus at night. Spiritual rebirth is the act of baptism to be “born of water and the spirit” (John 3:5) followed by a lifelong commitment to follow Jesus’s teachings and actions. It is a covenant that, after undergoing it, asks a Christian to function on a level higher than they were before in a moral rebirth as well. The reasoning behind this covenant--as is the reasoning behind everything Jesus taught--is love: ”for the love of God sent his Son not to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3:17) As Jesus introduced the concept of being born again, He is the median through which God’s love becomes the center of spiritual rebirth. Through Him and through spiritual rebirth, man can repent. It is, then, little wonder that Jesus tells Nicodemus when he seeks answers: “ Marvel not that I say unto thee, Ye must be born again.” (John 3:7)
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