A friend who writes sophisticated software was losing sleep over a tough problem. I made the mistake of asking him to explain, in simple terms, what the issue was. For the next 20 minutes he did his best, but I was dumbfounded. I couldn’t understand anything he said! And he was really trying to dumb it down for me.
Jesus had the same problem trying to explain spiritual reality to a guy who couldn’t fathom what He was saying. Of course, the man was merely a religious expert, one of the temple leaders at the time. Jesus told him:
I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? (John 3:12 (NIV84))
Translation? “Hey, this thing I’m telling you is basic stuff. If you can’t understand this, there’s no way for me to explain about heaven.” Makes me pretty curious about the “Heavenly things” since what Jesus said was the basic level stuff was about being “born again.” Literally, “born from above.” He was talking about having the Spirit of God coming alive in your soul, so that you could come to life – being born, so to speak – in a whole new way. Into eternal life. Here’s some of the rest:
Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”
“How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!”
Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’. (John 3:3–7 (NIV84))
I cannot fully grasp this beginner level truth. Analogies help but it remains a swirling mystery. Even after having experienced the effects of this spiritual new birth I still struggle to fully comprehend it. Imagine how amazing the “heavenly things” must be… Religion has a way of reducing such mystery down to where even the experts can master it. But Jesus knows we ain’t seen nothing yet!