The Man Of the Match?
The Story Behind John 3:7
You’ve probably seen a banner with these words being held up amongst the crowd at a hurling or football match. Or maybe you’ve seen it on TV. This banner is brought along to the matches by a man from Limerick called Frank Hogan. Are you puzzled about what it means? Then read on and you will find out what it’s all about.
“John 3:7” has to do with the Bible verse found in the Gospel of St. John chapter 3 verse 7. This verse reads,
“you must be born again” Earlier in verse 3 of the same chapter Jesus had stated the same thing in a bit more detail,
“I tell you the truth, no one can see the Kingdom of God unless he is born again”
hese two verses were part of a conversation between Jesus and a very religious man called Nicodemus. You see, even though this Nicodemus was a very religious man he didn’t know the true and only way to heaven. Jesus therefore told him that it was essential for him to be born again in order to go to heaven. A New Birth or a New Start is vital for all of us; without it no-one can see the Kingdom of God (heaven). So whether you are religious or not, Frank Hogan’s banner confronts you with the same crucial question,
are YOU born again? Surely you have felt the need for a new start in life.
Perhaps you have come to realise that there is no real purpose, direction or meaning in your life? Perhaps you have tried some sort of religion but only found it to be a burdensome set of rules and regulations? Maybe you are still weighed down with fear and insecurity about your future destiny? Possibly you can remember many of those New Year resolutions that you have made and failed to keep. I’m sure you find that making any kind of new start is very difficult. You do your best to change things (e.g. in your family relationships), maybe you succeed for a short time, and then fall back into the old ways. As the poet Edward Young put it, “ At thirty a man suspects himself a fool; knows it at forty and reforms his plan; resolves; and re-resolves; then dies the same”.
Why is it that we find it so difficult to make real changes in our lives? The Bible tells us why. It tells us there is a problem deep down in every human heart. It is called “sin”. This is not a trendy word today. But it does describe what we are really like if we are honest enough to admit it. Look in the Bible at the words of the prophet Jeremiah, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil”. Sin has such a grip on us that neither human effort, nor man-made religion, can set us free from it.
“John 3:7” brings us GOOD NEWS! It tells us that a new start is wonderfully possible. God can bring about a change of heart in men and women. They can have a new start in this life and a sure hope of heaven. Jesus can give YOU a new birth, a new start and a new life! He died on the cross to make the new start possible. He is alive today and can deal with your sin and give you a new start if you will admit your need and seek after Him.
No wonder Frank Hogan is eager to make known to you and many others that it is possible to be born again. Next time you see his banner I hope you will understand it better.