“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies.” John 11:25
“I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” These were Jesus’ words to Nicodemus, the devout Jewish Pharisee who was so intrigued by Him. Nicodemus wanted to know who Jesus was, saying, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God.” He had seen the signs and miracles Jesus performed; and he wondered how a Rabbi could do such things. He knew no one could apart from God.
Jesus’ response to Nicodemus seems peculiar. Why not just tell him exactly who He is? Why the cryptic response, “No one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again?” In order to understand what Jesus said, it is important to accurately interpret “kingdom of God.” Often times when we read this phrase, we confuse it with an actual place. This is not how Jesus was using the term. When Jesus said “kingdom of God,” he meant the right or power to rule over a kingdom. In other words, He meant that no one can see His royal power as the triumphant Messiah unless he is born again.
All Nicodemus saw was the miraculous things Jesus did. He did not see Jesus’ deity. He did not see Jesus the Messiah…the Lamb of God…the Passover Lamb…the promised one. Why? Because he had not been born again. Nicodemus needed life, not religion. This is what Jesus was telling him. In John 14:6 Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Again in John 6:33-35 Jesus tells His followers: “’The bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’ ‘Sir,’ they said, ‘from now on give us this bread.’ Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me will never go hungry, and he who believes in Me will never be thirsty.’”
There is no life apart from Christ. Religion…yes. Customs…yes. Rituals…yes…but not life. There is only one imparter of life and His name is Jesus. Our spiritually dead eyes cannot see Him as the reigning Messiah, but only as a good teacher. To see Him in all His glory and to worship Him as He deserves, we must be born again. The life Jesus gives is abundant and full. The life He gives is a life blessed in this world, and fully consummated in the next where we will live with Him forever.
LORD God, Thank You for Your Son, Jesus. He is the source of all life. He is the giver of new life. You have come near to us through Him. Help me, Father, to honor Him with the life You have given me through Him. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.