It was a Campus Green 1968 Schwinn Collegiate 5-speed, and it caught my 14-year-old eyes the moment I walked into the bike shop near Reynoldsburg, Ohio, where I lived at the time. Green was already my favorite color, but to see it paired with the gleaming chrome fenders and handlebars, well… that was it. I just had to have it!

You see, I’d finally saved up enough money from my paper route to afford something better than the old “kids bike” I’d ridden for years. So, when I proudly handed over the $66.95 + tax and walked out of there with my new treasure, I could hardly wait to get it home. And for the next many years that bike served me well, whether delivering newspapers or popping wheelies that were the envy of all my neighborhood friends.

Of course, it eventually got rusty and worn out, and I replaced it with what I thought would be an even better bike. But what I wouldn’t give to have that ’68 Collegiate back in all of its glory!

You know, it’s one thing to long for an old bike to be restored; it’s another to realize that our own lives can become rusty and broken and in need of restoration. But how can that be done? How can a weary, sin-tarnished life be restored to where it shines with the very image of God, as proclaimed in Genesis 1:27?

That’s essentially the same question that Nicodemus, a 1st-century Jewish leader, once asked Jesus in the darkness of the night. We don’t know exactly why he came to Jesus. Perhaps it was simple curiosity, but I suspect it was more than that. Perhaps he was troubled by something deep down inside that caused him to wonder whether he himself was in need of restoration. Indeed, that would make sense based on the initial interaction between him and Jesus as recorded in John 3.

If you’ve read it before, you probably remember how Nicodemus starts the conversation with a very affirming comment: “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God, for no one can do the things you do apart from the presence of God.”

But it’s almost as if Jesus senses that Nicodemus wants to ask a much more personal question (So, can you do a miracle for me?), because otherwise the next thing Jesus says would seem very strange.

“Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born anew.”

Not surprisingly, this comment puzzles Nicodemus, so he asks how such a thing is possible.  Jesus’ response climaxes with the most well-known of all biblical truths:

“God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes may not perish, but may have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but so that the world might be saved through him.”

You see, it’s not just about polishing up old chrome, repacking dried out bearings, or replacing rotted tires; it’s about being reborn. It’s about believing that Jesus can and will give us a whole new life, if we’ll open our lives to him.

So, let me ask you, are you opening your life to him?

Prayer: Jesus, long ago you said, “Listen! I’m standing at the door and knocking. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you…” (Revelation 3:20) Well, I want to be reborn and continually renewed in the image of God. So, help me to open, and keep open, the door of my heart, that you may live in and through me each day.

Amen

Dave Marty is a retired pastor who lives with his wife, Mary, in Brownsburg, Indiana. They have two beautiful daughters, two great sons-in-law, and two creative teenage grandchildren. In addition to cycling (including unicycling), Dave also enjoys gardening, Scrabble, hosting Holy Land tours with Mary, and tutoring kindergarteners at a nearby school