Skip to comments.Can A Man Be Born When He Is Old?...John 3 pt 3
Posted on 02/21/2012 4:39:27 PM PST by pastorbillrandles
Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mothers womb, and be born? (John 3:4)
Jesus told Nicodemus, the Pharisee and teacher of Israel that he needed to be born again, in order to see the Kingdom of God. By this time Nicodemus had already been born again in every way he knew how. In Jewish thought, as we said earlier, a man is said to be born again; on the day of his Bar Mitzvah, or on the day he is married, or should he be ordained as a Rabbi. Finally, should he fall away, on the day he fully repents he is said to be born again.
Jesus is obviously talking about something entirely unique to the Jewish concept. Nicodemus knew that to share in it, he would have to renounce his role as teacher of Israel , take on the role of a child, and be willing to receive. This is why Nicodemus asked Can a man be born when He is old ? Can he go back to his mothers womb?
The new birth presupposes the need to start over again. You can be born again. Your past can truly be past, your sins can be forgiven and by the gift of God you can live by a new principle of life, from God, as it is written, the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life.
Nicodemus was no fool, he wasnt being sarcastic when he asked if a man could go back to his mothers womb. He was saying, Can a man as invested in biblical religion as I am really start all over again? Are you saying that I need to go back to square one? Must I, the teacher of Israel take on again the role of a learner? .
It is one thing for the obviously ruined, prostitutes, drug addicts, pimps, and whoremongers , to see that they need a new start. To them, a message from heaven that you truly can be born again is truly glad tidings. What have they got to lose, but shame, sin, and remorse?
To someone as far along in biblical religion as Nicodemus, and one who is so well esteemed among the proponents of that religion, for him to be told that he too has to be born again in the sense that Jesus was speaking, would take a tremendous amount of the grace of humility. What would he have to lose?
Much in every way . The honor and distinction of being a prime teacher of the only true religion on earth at that time, Judaism. The years invested in teaching, perhaps writing, practicing Pharisaism and all of the honors and self satisfaction and sense of righteous accomplishment that goes with it.
After all this Jesus tells him he must be born again to even see the Kingdom of God ? Nicodemus was an expert on the Kingdom of God! Wasnt he?
A few years later, Saul of Tarsus, another Pharisee , who was rising rapidly among the sect, came to the same crisis a few years later and wrote this about the renunciation involved in his own new Birth, compared to what he gained in Christ,
For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:(Phillipians 3:3-9)
It is easy to let go of some of the vestiges of sin, the shame, disease, reproach, etc. But other aspects of sin bring to mind the a verse about Moses, which involves renouncing the honors, the connections, the accomplishments and points of pride,confidence in the flesh.
By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaohs daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward.(Hebrews 11:24-26)
It is not just the bad of our life, that we must renounce, but even the good ! Those areas where as Paul said, we put confidence in the flesh, and hold to no Righteousness of our own. These are our version of Moses treasures in Egypt.
This is the unique challenge to men like Nicodemus, renouncing self-righteousness. For many it is the great obstacle to submitting to and accepting the New Birth that Jesus offers. It is hard perhaps for all men to accept the fact that it is not just the obviously evil things we have done that estrange us from God, it is who we are in essence. We must be born again!
Therefore the answer to Nicodemus question, and to every other Nicodemus, Saul of Tarsus, Mary Magdalene, Simon the Leper, CS Lewis, or any other sinner, great or small, good or evil, respectable or utterly ruined, is the same. Can a man be born when He is old? Definitely! He can start over, he can begin anew, you can be born again, but only by receiving the gift of God, which is eternal life through Jesus.
I’m certainly returning to the hair I was born with.
Thank you for the post. Very True.
Wonderful sermon! Thank you and thank you, dear Jesus, for lavishing your grace upon us.