What Jesus Demands from the World
#1 You must be born again.
After reading the first demand Piper lists memories of international bible study flash through my head. I can remember how difficult and fulfilling it was describing this story of Nicodemus and the teachings that drive its plot. “You must be born again to enter the kingdom of Heaven”. “… How can a man reenter the womb?!?”.
“That’s what Jesus implied when he said to a would-be disciple
who wanted to go home to a funeral, “Leave the dead to bury their
own dead” (Luke 9:60). In other words, some are physically dead
and need burying. Some are spiritually dead and can bury them. He
implied it again when, in his parable of the prodigal son, the father
says, “This my son was dead, and is alive again” (Luke 15:24).
That’s why “unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of
God” (John 3:3). The dead can’t see. That is, they can’t see God’s
kingdom as supremely desirable. It looks foolish or mythical or
boring. So they “cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). They
cannot because it is foolishness to them.” p.39
After reading this part of the chapter something hit me in a very god-like duh-Ryan-what-the-crap-can-be-more-interesting-than-me fashion. I’ve never really completely understood why Jesus wouldn’t let the would-be disciple dude bury his father. That seems sort of uncompassionate. But, I have a very strong suspicion that the funerals back then were very extravagant and traditional. I’ve heard that the hire weeping women to go crazy for a week or so after they die. lol. Yet! When Piper puts these two verses together, linking how dead people should bury their dead and how the prodigal son was dead while he was away from his father, a new definition of life evolves. Through the demand of being reborn a second time, Jesus redefines what life is. It transcends all physical aspects and is moved to an eternal aspect. Hence, the second rebirth must also occur on the spiritual level. (not requires a second exit from the woman’s womb, sorry Eric). This is very interesting and core material. After reading this I read some Ephesians 4 coming across this:
“17So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.
20You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. 21Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
As soon as I read the line “Having lost all sensitivity”, there was an instant link in my brain to Piper’s message. Our level of sensitivity towards God’s demands is equivalent to how separated we are from the life of God, the life that Jesus claims to never allow you to thirst again. This study is definitely going to be important and heart changing. My prayer is that I would hold nothing back from letting this study of Christ’s demands change my sensitivity to God’s Spirit in my life. If you are reading this and want a copy of this devotional, Eric or I can email it to you as a PDF.