I've been reading that passage in John where Nicodemus creeps near the campfire of Jesus to ask a few clarifying questions. You've got to wonder what he must have been thinking...."This Rabbi seems to be a good guy. Perhaps we're just not communicating. Maybe if I can grab a few minutes with him I can help him hone his message..." He pays Jesus a few compliments, trying to grease the skids of communication...that seems to work well with the other Rabbis. Silly Rabbi. Tricks are for kids...
The first thing out of Jesus' mouth should have clued Nicodemus in - this was going to get harder, not easier.
I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.
I've been rolling that phrase around for the past hour. Born again. Has anything Jesus said stirred up as much disdain? Jimmy Carter took a lot of flak for being our born again president (when his real problem was that he was our misguided, micromanaging president). We've all heard believers being described as Bible thumping born againers....as opposed to those nice mainline folks who knew God and knew their place at the same time.
I dug into those words born again and found something interesting - and perhaps the reason for the disdain.
The word born carries a unique meaning in the Greek language. We think of physical birth, but the Greek language carries a connotation of fatherhood. You are born of your father. It shares a root with the word father. The same root in born again surfaces in 1 Corinthians 4:15, '...I became your father through the gospel'.
Our idea of being born - limited to the act of birth - puts the onus on us when it comes to rebirth. There's truth in that - partial truth. The other part of being born again is to be refathered.
What would it mean for you to be refathered?
What would a chance at a new father mean for you? What sort of shortcomings in your own dad could be made up by refathering by God? Don't fail to consider all of the ramifications - adoption is a wonderful thing, but to be refathered means there's a new sherrif in town. A perfect dad won't stand for some of the things your old pushover pop would. He's going to hold you accountable...but he's going to love you perfectly.
Spend some time today embracing your new father. Listening to His dreams for you. Submitting to His discipline. Surrendering to His leadership. Relishing your new role as an adopted son or daughter.