‘For when you eat from it, you will certainly die.’ Genesis 2:17b
The name ‘Nicodemus’ means: conqueror of people. This man will have been given that name for good reasons. A natural born leader, whom Jesus referred to as Israel's teacher. But there was little left of his confidence when he had heard the Lord Jesus speak! The words of the Saviour left him no peace, so that he could not wait until the next day. He had to approach Jesus with this burning question: ‘Why do people understand You better than they do me?’ But when he is with Jesus, he just cannot come forward with this question. With his eloquence, he thinks he can conceal himself from Jesus.
But Jesus knows that behind the pretence with which we often approach Him and each other, a cry for true life is hidden. Therefore, when Nicodemus has had his say, Jesus comes straight to the point.
Oh, if only we would fall silent at last, we might perhaps listen to the voice of the Lord! In our lives too, He would come straight to the point. He would tell us that all our devoutness cannot bring us life, but that we must be born again! For mankind, however religious, is dead in spite of being alive. Jesus says: ‘Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead’ (Matthew 8:22). Ever since the fall in Paradise, man is denied the true life with God, but through the redeeming death of Jesus on the cross of Golgotha, the way to life with God is open again! And this is the way to be ‘born again’, that we read of so clearly and powerfully in this passage. It cannot be understood by either Nicodemus or ourselves; it can only be received in a childlike manner!