The “born again” experience
Martha, Mary and Lazarus were close friends of Jesus. Lazarus got sick “so the sisters sent word to Jesus, ‘Lord, the one You love is sick’” (John 11:3). While Jesus traveled to the home, Lazarus died. Upon arrival Jesus consoled the grieving sisters after which, “still terribly upset, He went to the tomb, which was a cave with a stone rolled against the entrance. ‘Take away the stone,’ He said. Martha objected, ‘There will be a bad smell, Lord. He has been buried four days!’” After encouraging Martha, the stone was rolled away. “Then Jesus shouted, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in grave clothes, his face wrapped in a head cloth” (John 11:38-44).
The story illustrates what it means to be “born again”—getting connected to Jesus! Like Lazarus we’re bound and wrapped in death. Furthermore, our spirits have decomposed to such a degree that, to put it bluntly, we stink! Into our darkness, depravity and death Jesus extends an invitation of grace: “COME OUT!”
Lazarus responded to the Word of Life. Slowly shuffling from the tomb, he wobbled his first steps in following Jesus. Note his condition. Lazarus’s spirit was alive but his soul and body were still bound in garments of death, a strange situation. Nonetheless, this is how we all begin following Jesus.
To Nicodemus Jesus said: “You must be born again. Humans give life to their children. Yet only God’s Spirit can change you into a child of God.” Paul described the born again condition: “Friends, I’m completely frustrated. You’re acting like infants in relation to Christ, capable of nothing much more than nursing at the breast.”
Here’s the point. One is born again upon responding to the call of Jesus. Connection person to Person is established. However, no matter what our chronological age, we are at that point infants in Christ. The best thing one can do is put on a giant Depends, proceed to the bathroom and look in the mirror and say: “This is who I am in Christ!”