Jesus answered Nicodemus, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?” (John 3:3-4)
The Greek word for born “from above” is anothen.
It can be translated as born “from above”, born “again”, or born “anew.”
Nicodemus hears Jesus words as born “again.” He knows it’s physically impossible.
Pastor Anna Carter Florence reflects on this idea:
Don’t we all have some moments in our lives we wish we could do over, rework, or better yet, erase?
Don’t we all wish we could repeat our best moments?
Who hasn’t yearned for a magical rewind button, so that the events of a particularly fateful day might have played out differently?
Who hasn’t held a baby, and thought wistfully of one’s own youth, one’s own innocence, before age and years did their burdensome work?
Who hasn’t wished they could just start over?
We can’t start over. But God gives clean slates, fresh starts, and new beginnings through water and the Spirit. It’s God’s gift. Our sign of this promise is baptism. Martin Luther said that we daily return to our baptisms, drowning our old selves with all our sins and mistakes. Water is a sign that every day we can start over and try again through the forgiveness and freedom of our Lord Jesus. So go splash some water on your face. Remember that you can always start over with God.
Prayer: Gracious God, you know the things I wish I could re-do or erase. Forgive me. In my brokenness, put me back together. Help me to start over and try again.