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 gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You 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.” John 3:5-8
In the original languages of the Bible, the world translated spirit is the same word sometimes used for breath or wind. We see God’s breath throughout the Bible (see for example Psalm 104:29-30). At the very start, in Genesis, we find the Holy Spirit as God’s gift of life to man: “Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7). But since Adam and Eve later sinned, they died to God and all humanity after them has been separated from the life of God.
You must be born again, Jesus told Nicodemus. Flesh can only give birth to flesh. Do cows have piglets? Do little turtles hatch from chicken eggs? No, and sinful humanity only bears new generations of people separated from God.
If you want to be alive to God, you must be born of the Spirit. After Jesus’ resurrection, John’s Gospel tells us that “he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’” (John 20:22). Sound familiar? Just as God gave man the breath of life at creation, Jesus gave his disciples the breath of Holy Spirit to make them alive to God.
Are you alive to God? Our own efforts cannot make us close to God, we need the forgiveness and reconciliation that only Jesus can give. And when we know Christ, we have the life of the Holy Spirit inside us.
Jesus, come into my heart and make me alive to God. Holy Spirit, draw me close to God this day.
Further reading: Romans 8:9-17