“I wish there were some wonderful place
Called the Land of Beginning Again,
Where all our mistakes and all our heartaches
And all our poor selfish grief
Could be dropped like a shabby old coat at the door,
And never be put on again.”
Good news, Louisa! There is such a place. It is at the feet of the crucified, resurrected Christ. Jesus ushered Nicodemus to the gate of that land; and there is room there for you, too.
All we know about Nicodemus we learn from three brief stories in John’s Gospel. Our text is the first story. It is the narrative of a nighttime visit with the Master. The second is a brief mention in
From these three brief encounters we learn: (1) He was a Pharisee, the strictest and most pious of Jews; (2) he was a member of the Jewish ruling council—the Sanhedrin; (3) he was convinced by His miraculous deeds that Jesus was a teacher come from God; (4) Jesus called Nicodemus “Israel’s teacher”; (5) he was at first afraid to take his stand for Jesus; (6) but he did gather courage to speak up for Him at the Lord’s trial; (7) and he took his stand with Christ in the humiliation of his crucifixion.
Let’s focus on the first passage in this message on “The Land of Beginning Again.” Here is the famous saying of Jesus, “Ye must be born again.”
Two Honest Questions in this Text:
How can a grown man have a new beginning? It does not make sense. “How can these things be?” asked Nicodemus. The second question is like it: How can a physical man have spiritual birth? Nicodemus did not understand it, but it is a fact of life.
Two Illustrations Answer These Questions:
The first picture is from nature. “Listen to the wind in the trees, Nicodemus. Hear it whistle and moan around the stones of this building. Can you see the wind? No, but you hear what you cannot see. You see the effect of the invisible wind. You do not need to know all about it to believe in the unseen. So it is to be born again.”
A second picture is from Israel’s history (see
A vile and blasphemous sea captain one day was in the crow’s nest, shouting obscenities to his crew on deck below him. Suddenly a wave dipped the boat to port and violently corrected with a dip to starboard. The captain was hurled like a projectile from a catapult far over the waves of the sea. When they fished him out, he was a converted soul and proved it daily ever after in his changed life. He was born again.
There is such a place where a life steeped in sin and selfishness can be radically changed. Today this place could be for you. The Land of Beginning Again could be for you.