We are going to see how Jesus interacts with man. How he talks with Nicodemus back in the day is the same way He interacts with us today. Go ahead and read John 3:1:21. Be encouraged with this. Pay attention to how Jesus treats him. You could say they are sharing an espresso together while conversing. Jesus desires to sit down and have coffee with you. He longs to have great conversations with you where He listens to you and then He responds lovingly.
Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader who was also a Pharisee, wanted to talk with Jesus. A pharisee is someone who prided himself in his self-righteousness, in what he knew. He was considered part of the ruling class of Jews. After dark one evening, Nicodemus approached Jesus to speak to Him. Being that is was after dark, Nicodemus may not have wanted others to see him interacting with Jesus. Perhaps fearful of what others would say or think.
Let’s look at how Nicodemus treats Jesus. “Rabbi,” he said, “we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you.” Nicodemus is showing respect but he is treating Jesus as an equal, as a teacher, like himself. And we know that Jesus is far more than just another teacher.
INSIGHT: Human nature dethrones Jesus. We set our sights on ourselves and our accomplishments; our own goodness. Yet we know we are made for more. Here we see this prominent man seeking to know more and even in the dark where no one is around, he approaches Jesus.
Notice the beauty of God’s love. See how understanding Jesus is with Nicodemus’ lack of spiritual understanding. His view is worldly and limited. Yet, there is no condemnation or guilt placed upon him. Jesus explains the truth of who He is to help Nicodemus to see. Jesus begins with, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again (born from above), you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” This puzzled Nicodemus. He questioned how someone can go back into their mother’s womb to be born again. He asked a legit question and he received no backlash or ill-repute from it.
Jesus takes the time to speak truth. He is compassionate as He continues to explain how every human being needs to be born again; to have his life regenerated. God loves when we come to him with our questions and struggles. He meets us the same way as He does Nicodemus; every single time.
INSIGHT: Be brave today. Talk with Jesus about something that perplexes you. He will not be disappointed in whatever you ask. Actually, He will be happy. He is waiting for you to come to Him so He can begin a good work within you. Journal your questions and write down what God is showing you then share it with someone.
“I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can only produce human life but the Holy Spirit give birth to spiritual life.” Jesus tells Nicodemus to not be surprised with the saying, “must be born again”. We are born from two people who are imperfect, marred by sin (need a refresher? Reread Genesis 3). This makes us tarnished too. Sin separates us from God. In His amazing love what did God do? He sent His Son to be the bridge that reunites man with God. At this time, Jesus hasn’t resurrected yet so people, like Nicodemus, aren’t fully understanding so we read how Jesus is explaining who He is so they will come to know.
Jesus continues on by giving reference to the wind. It comes and goes how it wants. This is the same as people being born of the Spirit. You can’t explain it. Nicodemus still questions due to his own mindset with its own beliefs. He can’t get past his worldly thinking nor his own common sense.
INSIGHT: Nicodemus is a great example of how we are to follow God and His truths over pastors and priests. Many are called by God to lead His flock in our churches but they are human too. Yes, they lead valiantly but God and His Word takes precedence. We take what our pastors and priests teach each Sunday and learn for ourselves what the Bible says about what the sermon was on. Here is a gauge to look for in a church: the sermons/teachings are from the Holy Bible and people are led to follow its ways.
INSIGHT: When attending church, go with the expectation that you are going to hear from God. Go with your Bible, paper and a pen and take notes from the sermon. That way you can recall truths during the week to keep you focused. Why? “Within one hour, people forget an average of 50%. Within 24 hours, an average of 70%.” (taken from Learning Solutions by Art Kohn, 3.13.14) You will not remember and you will revert back to your old habits of living. Don’t forget, we have an enemy that will keep us from Jesus! We must stay alert!
Jesus continues with stating how Nicodemus is a respected Jewish teacher yet he doesn’t understand spiritual truths. Jesus assures him that people won’t be able to believe testimonies of Himself and His disciples because they have a hard time believing earthly things as well as heavenly things. Jesus reiterates how no one has gone to heaven and returned but He has. And He will be lifted up so that everyone who believes in Him will have eternal life. Jesus refers to Moses lifting up a bronze snake on a pole (Numbers 21:9) because that would be something that Nicodemus would know about from his studies.
INSIGHT: Jesus will use things from your own experiences to help you to see Him. Jesus has been with you from your conception. Ask Jesus to recall moments when He was revealing Himself to you. What comes to your mind? Pray and thank God for loving you!
Jesus continues with why He came. Reread John 3:16-17. Belief in Jesus means eternal life. Jesus came to save us, not judge us. Oh, how our enemy twists that up so we remain like Nicodemus. Judgment comes when you choose to not believe in God’s one and only Son. “And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.” This has not changed. People choose the ways of this world which is darkness. They live for the here and now. Jesus is the light and He wants us to come to Him so He can give us eternal life.
So, what did we learn today? 1. Jesus speaks truth in a non-judgmental way. 2. We need to be born again. A man and woman coming together can only offer physical birth. We need to be born of water and the Spirit. 3. Jesus came to be lifted up. He came to save the world, not condemn it. Sin already condemned it. 4. God does not judge a regenerated heart. God wants us to choose what is right, which is following Jesus. When He leads, amazing things happen!
God wants to speak to you. He desires you. He loves you. Don’t let anything keep you from spending time with Him. He wants to become your Savior. Many settle here and don’t move forward. But Jesus came for more, as Savior and Lord. He did not call any person in the Bible to just believe. They believed and followed. Jesus was obedient to God. We are to be obedient to Him. Then and only then, we are whole, truly united in love.