John 3:3 “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”
By the first response the conversation between Nicodemus and Jesus is a lesson in conflicted confusion. For all his learning the Jewish teacher cannot comprehend what Jesus might mean by “born again”. He fails to connect what Jesus says, to a prophecy well known to him in Ezekiel 36. There God says he will purify his people by water and spirit. Those who belong to God will have a deep life change because of this powerful transformative work. Jesus says you cannot see or enter the Kingdom of God without this transformative work. “You must be born again”. Through his incredulous questioning Nicodemus demonstrates he does not see Jesus point. By implication, he does not yet see the Kingdom of God. Jesus’ conversation is Nicodemus’ invitation to see, to enter, to be “born again”.
The reader is unsure how Nicodemus responds until John 19. There we find him preparing the body of Jesus for burial with Joseph of Arimathea. His devotion to Jesus shows us Nicodemus now knew what he had not understood. He saw, he entered, he was “born again”. That confusing conversation with Jesus had changed his life.
We want faith to be clear and to make sense, but always on our own terms. Could it be that when faith is unclear, the problem is we are missing the point? Could it be our confusion is an opportunity to wrestle so we can see and enter the Kingdom of God? It appears Nicodemus had the humility to do just that. How can we do the same?