Nicodemus Comes to Jesus
August 8 - Nº 220 John 3:1-21
One of the people who saw the miracles that Jesus performed during the Passover celebration was a man named Nicodemus. He was a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin—the powerful ruling group that made important decisions for the Jewish nation (see #208 - 400 Years of Silence). Possibly he was the head of a large rabbinical school as well, since Jesus referred to him as “Israel’s teacher” (see verse 10). One night, probably after he finished a long day of work in the Temple, he came to Jesus and said, “Teacher, we know that you are from God because of the miracles that you do.” Jesus got right to the point, “Listen carefully. 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 wanted to know. 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, can he?” Jesus responded, “To get into heaven, a person must experience both physical birth and spiritual birth.” Then he explained, “You become alive physically when your mother gives birth to you, but only the Holy Spirit can give you spiritual life. It’s internal—not visible. This should not amaze you. There are many things you can’t see with your eyes. For instance, you hear and feel the wind, but you can’t see it. That is how it is with the Holy Spirit. You can’t visibly observe this new birth, but you can see the evidence that the Holy Spirit has come to live in a person’s life.” Nicodemus shook his head. “How can this be?” he asked. He still didn’t get it. He thought he had accomplished all the externals possible to be good enough to enter God’s kingdom. Yet Jesus was pointing out that he was missing something very important—internal evidence of the Holy Spirit in his life. Jesus replied, “You are Israel’s teacher, yet you don’t understand these things? You are so focused on the physical aspects of having a religion that you can’t focus on 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. Many Israelites were bitten and died. Moses pleaded with God to save them, so God told him to make a brass snake and put it on a pole. Everyone who looked at that brass snake was healed. But those who refused to look died (see #57 - Snakes in the Desert). “That’s how it will be with me,” Jesus explained. “I must be lifted up. (He was referring to when he would be hung on the cross.) Those who look at me and believe that I am the way to have a relationship with God will be saved!” Jesus continued, “You see, God loved the world so much that He sent His only Son into the world, and whoever believes in him will not die spiritually. Instead, they will be given eternal life! God didn’t send me to condemn the world, but to save the world. But those who choose not to believe will suffer God’s judgment.”
Do you just know a lot about God—like Nicodemus did? Or do you actually know Him personally through what Jesus did for you on the cross? Have you accepted God’s amazing gift of eternal life? Jesus came to this earth to give it to you!