AUGUST 8 - Nº 220 John 3:1-21
One of the people who saw the miracles Jesus performed during the Passover celebration was a man named Nicodemus. He was a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin—the most powerful political group in the Jewish nation (see #208 - July 27). Possibly he was the head of an important rabbinical school as well, since Jesus referred to him as “Israel’s teacher” (see verse 10). One night, probably after he had finished a long day of work in the Temple, he went to see Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “we know that you are from God because of the miracles you do.” Jesus got right to the point, “Yes, and I will tell you the truth. No one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” Nicodemus was confused. “How can someone be born when he is old?” he asked. Perhaps a little sarcastically he added, “There’s no way he can go back into his mother’s womb and be born a second time, is there?” Jesus responded, “To get into heaven, a person must experience both physical and spiritual birth. You became alive physically when your mother gave birth to you, but only the Holy Spirit can give you spiritual life. This birth takes place inside of you. It is not visible.” Jesus continued, “What I am saying should not amaze you. There are many things you are not able to see with your eyes. For instance, you can hear the wind blowing, but no one has ever seen it. That is how it is with the Holy Spirit. No one can visibly observe this new birth taking place, but there is evidence when the Holy Spirit has come to live inside a person.” Nicodemus shook his head. “How can this be?” he asked. He still didn’t get it. He thought he had already accomplished every requirement necessary to enter God’s kingdom. Yet Jesus was pointing out that something very important was missing. There needed to be some kind of evidence that the Holy Spirit was alive inside of him. Jesus replied, “How can you be Israel’s teacher, yet not understand these things? You are so focused on the physical aspects of having a religion that you have missed out on the spiritual aspects of having a relationship with God. I know God personally! I have been in heaven with Him. You need to trust me.” Then Jesus reminded Nicodemus of an event from Israel’s history that served as a powerful illustration. When the people of Israel were wandering in the wilderness, they began to grumble against God, so God sent snakes to punish them for their sin. As a result, many of the Israelites were bitten and died. Moses begged God to save them, so God instructed him to make a brass snake and put it on a pole. Everyone who looked at that brass snake in faith was healed. But those who refused to look died (see #57 - February 27). “That’s how it will be with me,” Jesus explained. “Just as Moses lifted up that snake, I must be lifted up.” (Jesus was referring to when he would be hung on the cross.) “Everyone who looks at me and believes that my death is the solution for their sins will not die spiritually. Instead, they will be given eternal life! God did not send me into the world to condemn it, but to save it. Only those who choose not to believe will suffer God’s judgment.”
Do you know a lot about God—like Nicodemus did? Or do you know Him personally? Have you accepted God’s amazing gift of eternal life by believing that Jesus died on the cross to pay for your sins? Does your life show evidence that you believe and have been born again?