"Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men. For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life"
There is an old nursery rhyme dating back to the 1800’s and possibly to the late 1700’s. There have been many references to it in literature and pop culture. Its origin from the old English is interesting in that Humpty Dumpty was the name of brandy boiled with ale or was slang for a short clumsy person. Some have said that it depicted the defeat of King Richard III of England whose armies could not help him. Whatever its origin today we know the nursery rhyme by the 1954 lyrics in the English language:
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again
In the books where this nursery rhyme is written there is a picture of a personified egg resting on top of a wall that falls. We understand that once a vessel is broken, regardless of what it is made out of, it can never be put back together like it was when it was originally made.
Brokenness is very real and it is something that anyone who has lived any length of time will go through at some point in their life; sometimes more than once. Tragedies happen in the lives of people that shatter them to pieces. One phone call can change the world you are living in. There are situations that can break our hearts so deeply that one wonders whether or not it could ever be mended.
Scripture gives us a pretty clear picture of the brokenness of Jesus that led up to Calvary and the subsequent brokenness of those who witnessed his murder. Shattered dreams and wounded hearts created an atmosphere of hopelessness that overcame those like Peter who went out and wept bitter tears upon denying Jesus, even though he said he never would. Lost in hopelessness the disciples went different directions.
Thankfully they didn’t travel too far from Calvary. In three days the dreams and aspirations of the broken were raised from the grave! In less than 2 months, the hope of the gospel and the promise of the Father would dwell inside and a new life would begin!
Peter, the one who had wept bitter tears of denial was transformed into the first preacher of the New Testament church on the Day of Pentecost. The regenerated and renewed apostle preached the message of hope! Contained in the message was the washing of regeneration and the promise of the indwelling Spirit of Christ, the Holy Ghost being poured out upon them just like it was prophesied.
Washing: a bath, that is, (figuratively) baptism. From a root word meaning to bathe the whole person!
Regeneration: (spiritual) rebirth (the state or the act), that is, (figuratively) spiritual renovation; specifically Messianic restoration: - regeneration.
Paul writing to Titus, a young minister of the gospel directly relates our salvation to spiritual renovation to a spiritual bath of the whole person in baptism.
Many in the world today live in the same state of hopelessness as Humpty Dumpty. Truly no amount of king’s horses or king’s men can put the broken lives of men together again. I am amazed when reading stories of individuals whom doctors have saved their lives from horrific accidents putting their broken bodies literally back together. Medical science has made incredible advances when it comes to being able to save people’s lives.
The reality is that our bodies can be put back together while spiritually, and many times emotionally, it takes more than man to accomplish the daunting task. God so loved the world that he gave! By the kindness and the love of God our Saviour, we have been given the opportunity to have God wash us thoroughly and renovate us completely! Only God can take the broken and shattered pieces of a life and put it back together again!
The washing of regeneration is always followed by a renewing of the Holy Ghost! When the vessel is repaired, as only God can do, he then fills it up! Man cannot do this only God can! Yes God uses men as he uses preaching. Having our words seasoned with grace to the hearers has the ability to do what horses and unregenerate men cannot perform!
Yes the personified egg called “Humpty Dumpty” could not be put back together but thank God through the gospel message of Jesus Christ and the power of his indwelling Spirit we can be put back together better than we were before!
Pastor Ken Winkler