King's Business - 1913-10



V. 7. “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again (rather, anew).” These words make it clear, if there had been any doubt about it before, that Nicodemus had been astonished that Jesus had said to him, a Jew and a Pharisee, that he needed to be born anew. It was not so much that a new birth was necessary, that had aston­ ished him', as that it was necessary for everybody, and especially that it was necessary for him and alh men. of his class. That it was this that had particularly astonished him, Jesus makes very clear by the use of the two personal pronouns “thee” and “ye.” Nicodemus would not have been a particle surprised if Jesus had said to some Gentile, or to some Sa­ maritan, “thou must be born anew,.” He would have expected that, and rather liked it, but that Jesus should have said it to him, and should have emphasized the fact that he meant him by prefacing his statement, not once but twice, with the solemn and em­ phatic words, “verily, verily, I say unto thee,” in which the “thee” is both definite and emphatic, that was what startled and amazed Nicode­ mus. He was not only amazed but in a measure piqued, because he had come to Jesus wishing to represent his class and to assure Him that they really endorsed Him (see verse 2). He had imagined that Jesus would be greatly pleased with this endorsement from sych a high and authoritative source, as any other teacher but Jesus would have been. And this made him all the more surprised, and all the more sore, when Jesus had answered him as He had. Now Jesus bids him not to be surprised that He had not only said it but that He had said it to him. The “thee” and the “ye”_are em­ phatic in verse 7 also, especially the “ye.” Jesus would drive it home so there could be no mistaking it and no escaping it, that He meant Nico­

demus and all his class. “YE,” says Jesus, “must be born anew.” “All that even you possess, your being a child of Abraham, your being a Pharisee, your rigid observance of the law, your high morality and your exemplary re­ ligiousness, your unquestioned orth­ odoxy and the high esteem in which you are held, is not enough: you must be born again.” Jesus would not leave to Nicodemus a vestige of hope that he was in any. sense or to ,any extent an exception to the universal law, “Except anyone be born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” In view of what Jesus says here and to whom He says it, how futile and foolish are the hopes that some in our day, who call themselves Chris­ tians, entertain, that there are some who because of their birth from pious parents or because of their Christian culture or because of something else will see and enter into the kingdom of God without being “born anew.” Let us sound it again and again into the ears of every man and every child, as Jesus sounded it again and again into the ears of Nicodemus, .“YE must be born anew.” Let us notice also the “must.” This too is em-' phatic. The New Birth is not merely a matter of privilege: it is a matter of duty, a matter of absolute and im­ perative necessity. Nothing else will take the place of the New Birth. The issue is right here, Be born anew and see and enter into *the kingdom of God, or be not born anew and perish.. The all important question then that stares each one of us in the face is, “Have I been born again?” Lay these notes down right here and settle that question. There is another matter to be noted about the emphatic “YE” in this verse, and that is that Jesus excepts Himself (and Himself alone) from the operation of th is' otherwise uni­ versal law, that no one can see or enter into the kingdom of God with-

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