There are times that my mind takes off on a tangent and I start laughing until tears form, and then my husband looks at me and says “All right, what’s so funny now?” Often it is a twisted question about the English language that has come to mind, and we both wind up laughing.

This happened the other evening as we were in the car returning from a visit with friends. Our last name is Mowles – rhymes with towels. It doesn’t seem that it should be that hard to pronounce. But, such is not the case!

It is not at all uncommon for people to pronounce it “Mow-less” with the “mow” sounding like what you do to your grass during the summer. Take the sentence, “Hi, Sam, did you mow your grass?” Or, “Joe, did you tow my car last week?” Or “That top is cut too low, Susie!”

Consider: “Oh horrors — the bow is aimed to send the arrow directly through the bow of the ship!” Or: “She was wiping the bowl with a towel when she heard the wolf howl!”

Why does “mow”, “tow”, and “low” all sound one way with “how” sounding differently? Why does “bowl” sound like “mow” as in “mow the grass” when “howl” sounds like “towel” or Mowles?

Another crazy question relates to plurals.

Shrivenham house
Shrivenham house

Here is a house in England that I thought was charming. It reminded me of a doll house that I wanted when I was a small girl. The singular word “house” is pluralized as “houses” while the singular word “mouse” is pluralized as “mice”. Why the difference?

Houses along street in Oxford, England
Houses along street in Oxford, England

Why couldn’t more than one house be “hice”? Or, more than one mouse be “mouses”?  “Greetings, Jim. How long does it take to mow the grass at all your hice?” Or, “By the way, did you hear of the rash of mouses in the neighborhood hice?”

By the way, these hice are on a street in Oxford, England. They reminded me of the brownstones in New England!

Or this question:  Why do we have a “leaf” on the tree but we have a pile of “leaves” in the yard?

Child playing in the leaves
Child playing in the leaves

Why don’t we have “leafs” in the yard or a “leave” on the tree? But of course, you couldn’t have a “leave” on the tree because, in the fall, when the “leave” would “leave” there would be a bunch of “leafs” on the ground! .. Good Grief!

While there are hundreds of crazy questions such as these and, although they are of interest (perhaps), we must admit that they are mundane and of very little consequence. However, there is another question which may sound crazy but which is anything but. Indeed, it is deadly serious.

In the Bible, at John chapter 3, we find recorded the encounter between a Pharisee named Nicodemus, who was a ruler of the Jews, and Jesus. Nicodemus came to Jesus at night, presumably so that the other Jews would not know of his interest in what Jesus had to say.   Jesus, knowing the unexpressed but real inquiry in Nicodemus’ heart, understood that he wanted to know how to have eternal life.

In John 3:3-18, Jesus says:

Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him “How can a man be born when he is old?” Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”   Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” … Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” …  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”

Crazy question – must we go back into the womb to be “born again”? Nicodemus certainly was correct in asking how these things could be. And then Jesus told him exactly what would be required to enter the kingdom of heaven. The Son of God would be lifted up and those who believed on his name would not perish but have eternal life. They would see, and even be included in, the kingdom of God.

Indeed, this is the same question that the jailer asked Paul in Acts 16:30 “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” The response to this question was straightforward: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved…” Acts 16:31.

Beloved, some questions are crazy and of very little consequence. But the question asked by both Nicodemus and the jailer is of eternal consequence and it has a specific, direct and clear answer that applies to us today as well as it did to them 2,000 years ago.

If you want to be included in the kingdom of God, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the One who saves you from your sin and enables you to stand before the Almighty God, the Creator of the universe, the Omnipotent, Omnipresent and Omniscient God who is Holy and who could not look at us except for the blood of His Son – we stand before Him not because we have done good deeds or are righteous, but because Christ is righteous and we have claimed Him as our Savior, Redeemer and King.

Praise Him Who provided the way of salvation to us; and Praise the Son who died the death that we should have died; and Praise the Holy Spirit for sealing us as children of God through the obedience of the Son.