Jesus answered, “I assure you: Unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God…”
Do you consider yourself good at being able to discern the hearts of other people: your family or friends? There’s a difference in believing in someone's name and believing in them.
Jesus was in Jerusalem at the Passover and many people were impressed by the signs He did, but they had yet to appropriate their belief to Jesus himself. Their faith was only an opinion produced by the sight of His miracles. It was shallow and based on wonder with very little commitment. Their opinion did not impress Jesus!
How often do we allow ourselves to get caught up in the drama of a situation and become very excited when God isn’t necessarily impressed by what we thought was
so great? Our faith can be produced and encouraged today by good teachers, great preachers, and good books, but the goal of our faith should be to know Jesus in His fullness, not just as a miracle-worker or problem-solver.
Jesus knows our hearts. He doesn’t need us to defend Him, but we need Him!
There was a man, Nicodemus, a Pharisee and ruler of the Jews, who became a secret night visitor to Jesus. Nicodemus knew the religious laws and thought he was doing all the right things, but he was living in the darkness of this world. And whether he came to Jesus by night out of respect for Jesus' time or fear of being seen, he came to Jesus.
There they were—face to face—a Pharisee and Jesus. Nicodemus called Jesus "Rabbi," a title of respect. He wanted to know how Jesus could do all the many signs He’d done unless He was from God. Jesus reply was this: "Unless someone is born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God…”
Nicodemus, a man of the cloth, did what we often do. He asked a dumb question: "How can that be?”
There they were—mind to mind—the seeker standing in the presence of the Divine Teacher. Jesus told Nicodemus he needed to go back past all his previous learning and be born again. How could that be? He should have understood.
Today, after years of Bible reading, Sunday school, Bible studies, and church services, there are many things we should understand, but we still ask dumb questions.
Nicodemus knew about childbirth. He knew it would be impossible to return to his mother's womb. Jesus encouraged Nicodemus not to confuse the flesh with the spirit. Man's spirit can be completely regenerated. That which is born of the spirit is spirit. We don't understand all things today, but we believe we can trust the words of Jesus.
There they were—heart to heart—and Nicodemus’ questions took another turn into "how?" There are three answers. Go to your Bible and read them: John 3:14-15; John 3:16; and John 3:17.
Jesus’ answer to Nicodemus and us is: Life through His death, love from the heart of God through His gift of Jesus, and light and life through Jesus’ mission in the world. Because God so loved, He gave. Life comes through that gift and the light is shining.
Is your light under a bushel? Let it shine. Let it shine. Let it shine.
- Why do you think Nicodemus came to Jesus by night?
- In your opinion, what does it mean to be "born again"?
- What verse in this passage is well-known? Can you repeat it?
- Is there any reason why you can’t tell someone this wonderful story this week?