Chapter 40 The Jesus Code: 52 Scripture Questions Every Believer Should Answer by O.S. Hawkins.
This week’s question: “How can a man be born when he is old?” (John 3.4).
The chapter opens:
This question came immediately after one of Jesus’ most famous declarations: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3: 3). And this question was asked by a man named Nicodemus, who was the epitome of moral righteousness and theological acumen, yet he had entirely missed the point of Jesus’ teaching. Jesus was not speaking of a physical birth, but of a spiritual birth.
… it is essential to grasp the meaning— the who, the when, and the what— of this engaging dialogue that took place in a dark alley of a silent night in the city of Jerusalem two millennia ago. Why? Because, like Nicodemus, you too “must be born again.”
First “who”: Who was asking this important question?
Nicodemus was a Pharisee, a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin. He was a leader. He had power, prestige, and popularity, but he knew something was missing.
Next the “when”:
Nicodemus came to Jesus at night. The Scriptures don’t say why, but commentators have speculated that he didn’t want to be seen by his colleagues or perhaps he didn’t want to fight the crowds that followed Jesus by day. Or as Hawkins suggests, maybe he just couldn’t wait to talk to Jesus.
That made me wonder if Nicodemus was struggling to sleep with all the stories he had heard about Jesus’ miracles, all the criticisms from his friends and fellow Jewish leaders, and all the questions running around is his head. Hawkins:
Whatever the reason, one thing is certain. Underneath his long robes that night was a heart— perhaps like yours— hungry for something more. Nicodemus definitely had an abundance of head knowledge. What Nicodemus needed was what each of us needs: a new heart. And so he came and approached Jesus, hoping that in the darkness of night, he might find the light of truth.
Wasting no time in His conversation with Nicodemus, Jesus went directly to the point: “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3: 3). And the brightest man, the sharpest mind, in Jerusalem, didn’t understand. “How can I?” he wondered aloud. “I can’t get back in my mother’s womb and be born again. How can a man be born when he is old?” (v. 4, paraphrased). Then, looking into Jesus’ loving eyes and listening to His gentle yet authoritative voice, Nicodemus began to realize that this was indeed He of whom the prophets spoke. Nicodemus had spent his entire life studying, teaching, and applying the Word of God. Now, before his very eyes, was the Word Incarnate.
You must be born again. It’s not an option if you want to see the kingdom of God.
What about Nicodemus? Did he become a follower of Christ that night? There is ample evidence in John 19 that, indeed, he did. As Jesus’ body hung in death upon the cross, two men arrived, removed the spikes from His wrists and feet, took the mocking crown of thorns from His head, lowered Him from the cross, carried His body to the tomb, prepared Him for burial, and placed His lifeless body into the tomb. One of these two men was the wealthy Joseph of Arimathea in whose tomb the body was placed. And the other man? “[ It was] Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night . . . Then [Nicodemus and Joseph] took the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips of linen with spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury” (vv. 39– 40). Yes, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5: 17).
How about you? Do you know for sure that you have been born again?
Next week’s question:
Last week’s question: “Did not our heart burn within us?” (Luke 24.32). Read it here.
I have been pulling a few thoughts out of each chapter, but I cannot cover all the nuggets Hawkins shares in this little gem of a book. I hope these excerpts whet your appetite to purchase the book for yourself. Just click on one of the links below.
You can get a copy of The Jesus Code and follow along with these 52 vital questions. The chapters are short and can easily be read in one sitting. If you do, I’d love your feedback. Click HERE to get the book or HERE for Kindle.
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