John 3:1-6

John 3:1-6 has the story of Nicodemus.  He was a leader in the faith and was keenly interested in Jesus.  He comes to visit Jesus under darkness of night because he didn’t want the other Pharisees to know he was talking to Him.  “There was a man of the Pharisee sect, Nicodemus, a prominent leader among the Jews. Late one night he visited Jesus and said, Rabbi, we all know you’re a teacher straight from God. No one could do all the God-pointing, God-revealing acts you do if God weren’t in on it”.  Nicodemus shows his hand and that of the Pharisees – they know Jesus is not some false prophet trying to work His way into their turf.  He is the real One – the Son of God.  But Nicodemus can’t say that outloud in public, so he comes quietly to ask some questions of Jesus.

And Jesus answers him straight up.  “Jesus said, You’re absolutely right. Take it from me: Unless a person is born from above, it’s not possible to see what I’m pointing to—to God’s kingdom”.  Jesus throws a bit of a curveball to what Nicodemus was expecting to hear.  Most Jews of that time looked for the Messiah to bring in a new world, to create a new kingdom, in which Israel and the Jewish people would be at the top of the food chain. But Jesus came to bring new life, in which He would be the center.  Jesus did not come as a political leader or king, which was what many were expecting.  Jesus came to change lives.

This doesn’t compute for Nicodemus.  “How can anyone, said Nicodemus, be born who has already been born and grown up? You can’t re-enter your mother’s womb and be born again. What are you saying with this ‘born-from-above’ talk”?  Jesus is changing the rules for how we come to God.  We must be born again.  Tenney wrote ‘Essentially, this means to have new life. A theological term for this is regeneration. It isn’t simply a moral or religious reform, but the bringing of new life. To belong to the heavenly kingdom, one must be born into it.’  This isn’t something we can do on our own.  It isn’t about trying hard or doing some set of actions.  This is about a personal relationship with the Christ.  This is about being born again.

Jesus takes another run at trying to help Nicodemus get his head around the truth of being born again.  “Jesus said, You’re not listening. Let me say it again. Unless a person submits to this original creation—the ‘wind-hovering-over-the-water’ creation, the invisible moving the visible, a baptism into a new life—it’s not possible to enter God’s kingdom. When you look at a baby, it’s just that: a body you can look at and touch. But the person who takes shape within is formed by something you can’t see and touch—the Spirit—and becomes a living spirit”.  This isn’t  some option for how we enter God’s kingdom.  This is the new Covenant and the ONLY way we can enter.  If we want to enter heaven, we have to know the One who can give us that gift.  He is Jesus, and our only ticket to eternity in heaven is a personal relationship with Him!

One response to this post.

  1. Reblogged this on Matthews' Blog.

    Reply

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