“How can a man be born when he is old?” John 3:4
Why did Nicodemus ask this question? Because when Jesus said, “You must be born again,” Nicodemus heard these words as a demand. He hears Jesus’ words as something he must do, so he says, “How can a man be born again when he is old?” (3:4).
“Jesus, you can see that I am not in my 20s. I am a mature person. I have been shaped by my experiences and by my choices. How can I cleanse myself and make myself new at this stage of life? Jesus, what you are saying sounds like it might be good for the youth group, but it doesn’t sound realistic for a mature person like me.”
When Jesus said, “You must be born again,” Nicodemus heard this as a demand that he could not fulfill. What he missed was the gift that he could receive. Here’s the good news: Jesus came to give what he demands.
This is something that Augustine, the great 4th-century African bishop, saw clearly; and so he prayed, “Command what you will, only give what you command. Lord, you can ask whatever you want of me, only you must give it too. All I have is what I’ve received from you.”
How are you going to change what you desire? How will you break out of the ingrained patterns of your life? How can you become a person who truly loves God from the heart and has clear and confident faith in all of the promises of God?