I love making baby quilts. There's something so special about a quilt made to celebrate the birth of a new baby. Judging by how many patterns I see for baby quilts, not to mention all the blog posts about them, I'm willing to bet I'm not the only one who feels that way.
These are the quilts I made for my own three boys. In typical fashion, Aiden's quilt was finished before he was born.
|Bear in the Woods, designed by Margaret Rolfe|
|Dolphins, also designed by Margaret Rolfe|
|Quilt designed by Karen DuMont, vehicle appliques adapted from a pattern by The Country Quilter|
I can only imagine the puzzled look on Nicodemus' face as he tried to make sense of that. Finally he said, "How can a man be born when he is old...Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born."(v. 4)
What Jesus said makes no sense because Nicodemus is thinking only of the physical. Physical birth is, after all, an ordinary thing. Babies are born every day, but they can only be born once. 'Born again' isn't something Nicodemus has heard of before.
But Jesus isn't speaking of a physical birth. As Nicodemus pointed out, that isn't possible. So what is Jesus talking about? "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit."(vv. 5,6)
Spiritual birth, then, is what Jesus means by 'born again.' We all have a physical birth, when our bodies are born and we live on the earth. But to see, and the enter, the kingdom of God, we must experience the spiritual birth. How does this spiritual birth happen?
In the first chapter of his gospel, John writes this about Jesus: "He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God - children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God."(John 1:10-13)
Jesus, the creator of the world, came to the world, but the people didn't recognize Him. Most of them didn't care who He was. But to those who did realize, to those who believed, to them He gave a spiritual birth into the family and the kingdom of God.
That spiritual birth is still available today. Jesus said, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."(John 3:16) Whoever believes. In Bible times...in the 1800s...today and on into the future, anyone who believes that Jesus died to take the punishment for their sins will be born again, spiritually, into eternal life.
And God celebrates that spiritual birth, though not with a quilt. Jesus told his disciples, "I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent"(Luke 15:7) and "In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."(v. 10)
Have the angels in heaven rejoiced over your spiritual birth?