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.” (verses 3-5)
Jesus, shortly, will marvel that Nicodemus, as Israel’s teacher, doesn’t understand these things. Jesus clearly implies that what he teaches here about new birth has already been revealed in the Old Testament – scriptures which Nicodemus purports to know.
And it has. The prophet Ezekiel used these very concepts of water and Spirit to speak of the New Covenant which would be realized in Jesus:
“I will sprinkle clean water on you and you will be clean … I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you … I will put my Spirit in you …” (Ezekiel 36:25-27)
This cleansing and renewal of water and Spirit is nothing short of a new beginning, a new birth. That’s what Ezekiel promised. Further, the Spirit who blows as a wind on the dead, dry bones of God’s people, reanimating them (Ezekiel 37), is the very Spirit who now, like unseen wind, blows powerfully in the lives of the reborn, doing as he pleases.
So, when John the Baptist later in this chapter says, “A man can receive only what is given him from heaven“ (John 3:27), we rejoice and cry out, “Thank you, Spirit of God, for blowing as you please in my life – gratefully, I receive.” And when, still later, the Baptist affirms, “God gives the Spirit without limit” (John 3:34), with thirsty voices we say, “More, Lord – from your boundless supply, breathe in me with more of your Spirit’s presence, renewal, fresh wind, powerful movement. Fully express your desire, as you please, in my life.”
O Lord Jesus, thank you for your words to Nicodemus in the dark of that night, spilling forth light in my own soul this very day. Thank you for your cleansing work, sprinkling me clean. Thank you for your Spirit’s presence – such a good gift. My heart cries, ‘More Lord’. This day I ask for more of your renewing breath, as is your pleasure. I wait. Amen.
Receive: Several times today pause and say “thank you” for the gift of the Spirit. Then, in gratitude and faith, pray ‘More, Lord, from your limitless supply.’ Receive.