A New Birth

P1040737aAt 3am last Tuesday morning, my little son Marcus Donald was born. Unfortunately, I was not able to be in the maternity ward, as I was lying in bed at home with the ‘flu.

This was not such bad news as it sounds: childbirth can be a very painful thing. I don’t know if my fingers have recovered yet from all the hand-squeezing that was going on last time round. It is also time-consuming, noisy, and (at the end) just a bit disgusting.

But the result is wonderful: you always forget how tiny a new-born baby is, the warm cuddliness, the slightly furry face, the way they sleep all the time. Marcus is a very peaceful baby.

Looking into his face, I think about the extraordinary potential of a child: what kind of boy will he be, what kind of man? Will he be argumentative? Will he be funny? What work will he end up doing? He could be a postperson, or an astrophysicist, or a living statue. The possibilities boggle the mind. Maybe he’ll pot-hole, or play the pipes, or holiday in Penzance. He could forge relationships, learn languages, travel the world. Or he could be a stay-at-home type. Maybe he’ll watch every episode of Star Trek ever made, or know how to build dry stone dykes.

But a birth is especially incredible, because a child is not just a physical being. Here is a little soul that will live forever. This baby is a being, with a consciousness that will never cease. What kind of life will he lead in all Eternity? The Bible says that there are only two possibilities. The responsibility is overwhelming.

My desire is that this little boy is born not once but twice. Jesus spoke of a ‘new birth’, and famously said: ‘Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God’ (John 3:3).

Whatever he ends up doing, I want my little boy to be happy and healthy in thirty years time. But I also want him to be happy and healthy in three hundred years time. And that means I want him born again.

One thing is sure about my son: he is a sinner – he gets it from his Dad. He needs to be forgiven, just as every other person needs forgiveness. The good news of the Gospel is that forgiveness and a new birth are available in Jesus Christ.

Who can beat the simplicity of Jesus’ message? ‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life’ (John 3:16).

This message speaks of a whole new life, free from guilt, from the weight of sin, from the prospect of judgment: a new life that will last for some years in this world, and for all Eternity in Heaven after that.

My hope is that little Marcus finds out for himself that the Gospel is true. He has the potential to lead his life in many different ways, but my longing is that however he lives, that he will live as a man of God. Marcus has been born once, that’s for sure (even though I missed it); now I’m praying he will be born again by the power of Jesus Christ.

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