The Birthing of a New Humanity
The miracle of the new birth comes from God alone; we can only look to Jesus.
I am captivated by the conversation between Jesus and a rabbi named Nicodemus. It is located in John, chapter 3. In this text, we find one of the greatest affirmations of the Christian faith. John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world …." In this text, Jesus draws together the central ideas and themes of John's Gospel. He talks about the kingdom of God, the Cross, the Holy Spirit, flesh, spirit, light, darkness, and two great Christological titles—Son of Man and Son of God.
But this text also explains what is currently happening in our church and this city.
Jesus probably had the Book of Ezekiel in mind when he was talking with Nicodemus. When you read the Gospels, you need to realize that Jesus was usually working with a text from the Old Testament. Listen to John 3:1-21:
Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him." Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." Nicodemus said to him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?" Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit."
Nicodemus said to him, "How ...
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Darrell Johnson has been preaching the Gospel since 1968. He has served as Senior Minister for a number of congregations; in the United States, the Philippines, and Canada. He has taught preaching for Fuller Theological Seminary, Carey Theological College in Vancouver, and Regent College in Vancouver, where from 2000 to 2009 he served as Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology, now serving part-time as Teaching Fellow. He has authored eight books, including The Glory of Preaching (IVP Academic) and Discipleship on the Edge: An Expository Journey Through Revelation.