John 3:3 “Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”
John 3:4 “What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?” In this verse we see Nicodemus’ confusion. Interestingly, the term born again was not new. Nicodemus was not hearing the term born again for the first time and that was what amounted to Jesus’ frustration. In Judaism, the term born again was used for the Gentiles that are converted to Jews then they become proselytes [converts]. They are baptized and they become Jews and the Jewish term used to describe such people as born again. When Jesus said to Nicodemus, a member of the Sanhedrin, a Pharisee, a Jew of Jews, “You have to be born again”, Nicodemus knew Jesus was not telling him to become a Jew.
So, was Jesus telling him to go into his mother’s womb and come out again? Nicodemus was both confused and conflicted. And if you see what Jesus did to him. Sometimes, in retrospect, reading these stories of Jesus. I am like it is only Jesus that can think like this. How can you take a man that knows so much and you just make him feel like he knows nothing? It just has to be God; and at the end of the day, the man is like, ‘What are you saying?’ John 3:7 “So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’” The word ‘You’ in the passage is plural. Jesus was addressing Nicodemus and his friends. Jesus was saying, “Go and tell them, all of you must be born again.” What an insult! They probably would have said, “We are the ones that determine the people that should be born again.” Born again now being the concept of becoming a Jew.
The English language is so limited. Even our own Nigerian pidgin-English is richer than the Queens English. Do you know that? Even our native languages are richer than English. When Jesus said, ‘You’, that word is plural. If it were to be said in pidgin-English, it will be translated, ‘Una’. And when you read, ‘Una’, you would immediately understand that Jesus was talking to a group of people. But when the English translation says, ‘You’, it is tough to tell Jesus was addressing a group. Except you do what I do which is to take Greek lexicon, Hebrew, and Aramaic and check if that word is singular or plural. Not many people can do that; not many people have the time, really. However, it is important that we understand that in response to Nicodemus’ words, “…we all know that God has sent you to teach us….”. Jesus’ response was a message back to his group. In pidgin English, it would read, “All of una need to born again o!”
Jesus expounded on it in John 3:5 “Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit.” Nicodemus must have moved from level one confusion to level five. Jesus, You are confusing me! You said we should be born again and now you are talking about water and spirit? Yet who was talking to him? The Answer Himself.
Prayer: Holy Spirit, open the eyes of my heart, let the secret treasures be made plain to me. Reveal Jesus to me in the Word, in Jesus Name. Amen!