John’s description of second birth helps us understand its urgency. The fourth Gospel tells the story in terms that are as wonderful as the gift of spiritual insight, as understandable as family, as mysterious as the wind, and as tragic as the crucifixion of Jesus.
At first mention, John’s Gospel likens those who welcome Jesus into their lives as born of God (John 1:12). Later while talking to a teacher of religion, Jesus likens the mystery of spiritual birth to an unseen and uncontrollable wind (John 3:1-22).
The urgency? Without rebirth in the Spirit, people like us lived at the expense of one another and eventually demanded the death of their God—a mistake, as foreseen by the prophet Zechariah, that would lead to inexpressible grief and remorse (Zech 12:10-14).
The example? Nicodemus, who helps us hear about the New Birth, heard Jesus talk about it after apparently coming to him under the cover of darkness (John 3:1-2). Later, like the sound of a soft breeze blowing in the leaves, Nicodemus finds the courage to gently question fellow Pharisees in a way that causes them to question his judgment (John 7:47-52). The last time we hear about him he has joined with a wealthy secret believer to care for the body of Jesus and to lay it in a tomb (John 19:38-42).