Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.[a]”
“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”
Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit[b] gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You[c] must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.
“You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” John 3:3-15
Last week I was teaching the story of Nicodemus, Jesus and being born again to my Sunday School class, ages 3-8. I think being born again is a hard concept for some adults to grasp let alone children.
First I showed them this photo and asked them to describe the bug they saw.
Dirty, poky, slimy, icky, ucky were just some of the not so flattering adjectives the children came up with.
Then I showed them this photo and asked them to describe the bug they saw.
Their eyes brightened as they said, "Big, beautiful, pretty, bright"
They were surprised to know that these two "bugs" were the same animal. That ugly bumpy caterpillar spins his cocoon and eventually turns into this beautiful butterfly.
But all of the children wrinkled their brows when I said, "WE are all JUST LIKE the CATERPILLAR! We are ugly because we are full of sins!!"
Then the kids shared some sins they knew of; lying, hitting, fighting, etc.
Does God want us to be ugly and full of sin? No of course not. God's goal for us is to become as beautiful as that butterfly up there but he's not going to change us all by himself. We have to do some work too.
Just like the caterpillar spins a cocoon tightly around himself and then waits patiently while he changes, so must we wrap ourselves in God's Word. To truly change our sinful ways we need to surround ourselves with people, places, and things that will help us change into the loving Christians God wants us to be. It probably won't happen all at once but it will happen if we are patient and work with God.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank You for the "ugly" caterpillar and the "beautiful" butterfly. Thank You for giving us the opportunity to change our sinful ways and live a beautiful life for You. Father, please provide us the cocoon we need to change. Amen.