Back to the Future

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Jesus tells Nicodemus he must look ‘back’ to the ‘past’ to understand the ‘future’ of the Kingdom of God.

John writes about a conversation between Nicodemus and Jesus. Nicodemus displays an appetite for spiritual things and declares his understanding of where he thinks Jesus came from. Jesus replies that ‘unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’

The Greek word for ‘be born’ is the word gennao, which literally means ‘to be fathered’. It comes from a root word genos, which means ‘kindred, offspring, family, stock, tribe, nation’. It can refer to descendants from the same ethnic group or people. So rather than referring primarily to the act of birth, this word is more concerned with the stock that the one being born comes from.

The word ‘again’ is one translation of the Greek word anouthen, which also means ‘from above, or from a higher place’. Imagine you are the conductor of an orchestra, with all the musicians arranged in front of you. You have been practising portions of a musical score for most of the day. Towards the end of the practice session you tap your baton on the music stand and say, ‘OK, lets’s take it from the top.’ What do you mean? You are telling the musicians that you want to go back to the beginning and start again from there.

Nicodemus replies by asking how he can retreat back into his mothers womb and be born again. Jesus says in so many words, ‘Nicodemus you haven’t gone back far enough! Unless you go back to the beginning, before time began, where you began in the womb of the Trinity, to understand who you are and where you came from (that is, from above), whose ‘stock’ you belong to, you will never perceive or understand the kingdom of God.’ 

Francois in the Mirror Bible translates this passage this way: ‘Jesus answered emphatically; no one would even be able to recognise anything coming from God’s domain unless they are born from above to begin with. The very fact that it is possible to perceive that I am in union with God, as a man, reveals humanity’s genesis from above.’ (Jn.3:3)

Quoted from: Jesus – Is How God Sees You by Peter Wilks

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