by Wayne Blank
The True Meaning Of "Born Again"
"Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, "Rabbi [see They Never Called Him "Jesus"], we know You are a teacher Who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing [see Miracles Of Jesus Christ] if God were not with Him."
"In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see The Kingdom of God unless he is born again."
"How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!"
"Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."
"How can this be?" Nicodemus asked."
"You are Israel's teacher," said Jesus, "and do you not understand these things? I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven - The Son Of Man [see The Logos]. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert [see Wilderness Journey], so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life."
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God."
A Believer Among Unbelievers
"On hearing His words, some of the people said, "Surely this man is the Prophet." Others said, "He is the Christ." Still others asked, "How can the Christ come from Galilee? Does not the Scripture say that the Christ will come from David's family [see The Chosen People] and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?" Thus the people were divided because of Jesus. Some wanted to seize Him, but no one laid a hand on Him."
"Finally the Temple guards went back to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, "Why didn't you bring Him in?"
"No one ever spoke the way this man does," the guards declared."
"You mean He has deceived you also?" the Pharisees retorted. "Has any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed in Him? No! But this mob that knows nothing of the law - there is a curse on them."
"Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus earlier and who was one of their own number, asked, "Does our law condemn anyone without first hearing him to find out what he is doing?"
The Burial of Jesus Christ
"Later, Joseph Of Arimathea asked Pilate [see Pontius Pilate] for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews. With Pilate's permission, he came and took the body away [see How Did Jesus Christ Die?]. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus' body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb [The Garden Tomb is shown in the photograph above], in which no one had ever been laid. Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation [Note: that day of preparation was for the annual holy day at Passover; it was not the regular day of preparation for the weekly Sabbath] and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there."
Fact Finder: What did Jesus Christ say was the only sign that would be given to prove that He was the Savior?