You Must Be Born Again – Gospel in Life

You Must Be Born Again

Tim Keller |  March 16, 2008

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  • Identity
  • Salvation
John 19:38-42; 3:1-8
RS 201-5

John 19:38–42; 3:1–8

Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, two members of the Jewish ruling council, secretly show their commitment to Jesus by giving Him a proper burial in a garden tomb, as described in John 19. This connects back to a chat Jesus and Nicodemus had in John 3 about the need for spiritual “rebirth”. It’s time to dig into this “born again” concept – who it’s for, what it means, why it’s needed, and how it changes us.

1. Who it’s for

When Jesus tells Nicodemus to be “born again”, he’s defying common ideas about who needs this spiritual rebirth. It’s not about being a certain type of person, it’s about everyone – no matter their background or life situation. This rebirth isn’t limited to certain types of Christians; it’s a universal need to truly believe in Jesus.

2. What it means

“Born again” isn’t about doing good deeds or having a perfect record to get into heaven. It’s about shifting our focus from ourselves to God and others. This spiritual change means letting go of our ego, self-reliance, and pride. We’re called to change old ways of thinking and living, focusing on humility, depending on God’s grace, and understanding the importance of spiritual change. It’s about finding our self-worth in God’s mercy and love.

3. Why it comes

God’s gift of rebirth doesn’t depend on what we do. It comes from the sacrifice of Jesus dying on the cross. Our relationship with God is like a birth, made possible by Jesus’ suffering and death. This idea of Jesus as a mother giving birth to us through His pain is a powerful and life-changing image.

4. How it looks

Joseph and Nicodemus, two main characters in John 19, show bravery and humility as they risk getting arrested to take Jesus’ body and prepare it for burial – a task usually done by women. This change in them, brought about by being born again, shows the unique combination of courage and humility that comes with understanding the gospel. It shows us our deep flaws but assures us of a love that’s beyond anything we could imagine. Their actions show the change that being born again through the gospel can bring.



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