Read John 3:1-21
Theme: life of Jesus
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Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 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?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
9 Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? 11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 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. 18 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. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”
Thoughts to consider
Today we have a very familiar passage including probably the most famous verse in the whole bible, but is it possible to get so familiar that we can miss certain things? Let’s look afresh at this passage and ask God to speak to us from it.
Nicodemus came to Jesus at night which often in the bible signifies spiritual darkness. Nicodemus soon amazes Jesus that even though he was one of the nations spiritual leaders he didn’t even understand basic spiritual things. This shows that you can do all the right things, say the right things (go to church etc) and not be saved.
· This is such a sobering thought that it deserves contemplation. Do not start thinking about certain people in your church who may or may not be saved, but examine your own heart. Have you fully surrendered to Jesus and made Him Lord of your life?
· What do you think it means to be “born of water and the spirit”? For further consideration read Ezek. 36:25–27
· It’s interesting to note that from v7 onwards when Jesus addresses Nicodemus he says ‘you’ in the plural. What do you think, if any, is the significance of this?
· Think of the impact in that culture of Jesus saying “God so loved the world” Up to then, in the religious leaders’ eyes, it had only been about Israel.
· Think about that wonderful word in v15 ‘whoever’ are there any restrictions? (Clue – NO!!!)
· What would it look like if God did come to condemn the world?
· Think about there only being two choices (to believe or not) this means that all those who try their best and live the best life they can, unless they believe in Jesus, will be condemned.
· If you believe in Jesus, you have the light. Think about how you can bring the light of Jesus into dark situations today.
Father I thank you for this wonderful, but sobering passage, full of hope that we can be born again but also a grave warning to those of us who think we are ok because we go to church and say the right things but our hearts are far from you. Thank you so much that you didn’t come to condemn the world (which we deserved) but instead came to save us. Your grace is truly amazing, in Jesus name, amen.