On television, I once saw an operation where the surgeon was repairing a sick person’s heart. It was very impressive. And when the person left the clinic, she was much better than before. If the surgeon had not operated, she would have definitely died.
One day, in church, a little girl of 4 or 5 asked the pastor to pray for her.
A few days later, the pastor got a phone call. It was the little girl’s mother who asked, “Pastor, what happened to my daughter when you prayed for her?”
“I don’t know,” replied the pastor, “I prayed that she would be blessed by Jesus, because the Lord really loves children.”
The mother continued, “Well, a few days ago while she was washing, she said to me, ‘you can wash me all over, but you can’t wash my heart. Jesus did that when the pastor prayed for me!’. And she was so happy.”
Whatever happened to this little girl reminds us of what happened when an old man, Nicodemus, met Jesus. You can read about it in John’s Gospel, chapter 3, verses 1 to 21.
Nicodemus was an old man who knew the Old Testament, the first part of the Bible. He was a teacher. He wanted to talk to Jesus because he had been impressed by seeing the miracles that Jesus had done.
“I know”, said Nicodemus, “that God is with you, because no-one can perform miracles like that unless He has God with him.”
Jesus replied, “Truly, I say to you, unless someone is born for a second time, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Born for a second time! You’re probably as astonished as Nicodemus was.
“But, how can someone be born a second time when he is old? Can he go back into his mother’s womb?”, asked Nicodemus.
It’s true, Jesus’ words were difficult to understand, so he explained how it was possible.
Jesus was not speaking of the same kind of birth. There is being born bodily when you start to live, and your heart beats and sends blood all round your body. But, there is a new birth: being born though the Holy Spirit.
So, what exactly is this second kind of new birth? Jesus said to Nicodemus, “Whoever is born of flesh is flesh, and whoever is born of spirit is spirit.”
That’s what happened to the little girl. She wanted the Lord to come into her heart. And she understood, in her own way, that Jesus had removed the bad things from her heart. She understood that Jesus had given her a new heart, not physically but through the Spirit. This little girl’s heart was now like the house of the Holy Spirit, because Jesus had taken away her sins: her lies, her anger, all the bad stuff. Now, she could be stronger. The Holy Spirit was in her.
She had received God’s life, eternal life. And now she could begin to understand how things work in the kingdom of God.
What about you?
God loves you so much that he wants to save you, to give you a new life, a new heart, through the Holy Spirit.