Watering the Tulips
February 24, 2015
“Jesus answered him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.’” – John 3:3
Why Nicodemus came to see Jesus by night, we cannot be sure. Perhaps he was scared other Pharisees might see him. Perhaps he was embarrassed. Or, perhaps he just wanted to make sure he had some one on one time with Jesus. Maybe in all of this man’s ceremonialism, he had not yet found any real assurance of eternal life. There’s no way to know the answer, Biblically. But what we are given becomes foundational as the New Testament unfolds.
Jesus calls this man “the teacher of Israel” later in their conversation (John 3:10). So, he was at least a high-ranking leader of the religious sect called the Pharisees. They were conservatives – strict adherents to the Mosaic Law. They had even added a number of “extra” laws just to make sure they didn’t get near breaking the actual Law of Moses. It was these traditions that Jesus often ignored which brought Him opposition from the Pharisees. In fact, the argument could be made that Jesus’ attitude towards man-made rules ultimately played a major role in His murder.
Nicodemus’ issue was not his lack of commitment to religion. He was one of the most religious people in Israel (and probably the world) at this time. When he approaches Jesus, he is faced square with the Truth (John 14:6). He is given information immediately about the ineptness of religion to save. And, he is given the remedy for fallen, broken creatures – “You must be born again” (John 3:7).
One of the most critical theological points is frequently disregarded in our age. Oftentimes, people are led to believe that we only gained the capacity to sin in the Fall. However, the truth is that something much worse happened to you and me when Adam ate the forbidden fruit. In Romans 5:12, Paul said, “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned”. Death came through the Fall. However, the death that came through the Fall was much more than physical death. If that were the only issue, it wouldn’t have been quite as tragic. Spiritual death came through the Fall. When Adam stood as the root of the human genealogical tree, he was cut because of his sin…and the whole tree fell. Now we are all naturally declared to be “dead in the trespasses and sins”(Ephesians 2:1).
What’s the point here? Clearly, we are all born spiritually dead. That doesn’t sound very promising, especially when we hold our newborn baby in our arms. But it’s true. All people – every human – fell in Adam. His spiritual death was our spiritual death. As Lazarus was called forth from physical death, so we need to be called forth from spiritual death. And if you are a believer in Jesus Christ today, that is exactly what happened to you. You were born again!! Won’t you praise Him today for His grace in your life?
Watering the Tulips is brought to you by Sovereign Grace Baptist Church in Northport, AL. For more information, please visit www.sovereigngrace.net . “Your App to the Gospel” can be downloaded at iTunes for iPhone, iPad and IPod Touch, Google Play for Android, the Windows Phone Marketplace, and the Windows Store for Windows 8/8.1 based tablets and computers. Please download it today!