Day 11

Day 11- How is one born again? 

Jesus’ display of passion in the temple during the Passover must have raised many eyebrows, but Jesus was then launched onto the stage of popularity in His day. The Bible says, “when he arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him. They had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, for they also had been there”. (John 4:45) But before that, Jesus had a meeting with a man named Nicodemus, who was very religious. He came to meet Jesus under the cover of darkness, because he was deeply concerned with his own reputation and did not want to be seen with Jesus. Take a look!

Read John 3:1-21

What does this passage tell us about Nicodemus?

What can we learn about Jesus from this Passage?

What does this passage tell us about the Kingdom of God?

Throughout Jesus’ ministry we see Him calling people to “come and see”. This is the same call that we make those who do not know yet that Jesus is the Messiah, the savior of the world who frees us from the penalty of sin. You will note that some people turn and walk away and other people come at different times and in different places with an infectious curiosity.

 In this nighttime encounter with Jesus, Nicodemus is challenged to take his eyes off of himself long enough to see that the world we live in is not one-dimensional. When people come to Jesus, He will always reveal himself as the way to heaven like he does here with Nicodemus. I wonder who invited Nicodemus to this secret garden meeting? Was it Jesus? Could it have been John? Some have suggested that John was related to Nicodemus, maybe a nephew. It is interesting to note that only in the book of John is Nicodemus mentioned. Maybe John’s inside connection, which got him in the inner court the night of Jesus’ betrayal, was his uncle Nicodemus.

More importantly, in this meeting we see the Master teaching us how to share who Jesus is with a religious unbeliever. Jesus’ strategy is masterful, taking Nicodemus from the seemingly impossible concept of being born again to the possibility, in Christ, of living in the Light free from fear. The process is one of faith. Nicodemus lacks faith. He is looking at everything physically and sees only the impossibility. Read back through the story, noting Jesus’ strategy. Jesus challenges Nicodemus to open his eyes of faith.

Root number six in our root system is faith. You cannot physically see the wind, but you can see its effects as it blows. Just because you cannot see something with your physical eyes, does not mean it doesn't exist. Jesus says it is the same for those who have been born in the Spirit (John 3:8) What is not possible to see physically is possible with God because He loved us. He loved us so much that he provided a way to be reborn, to have a new life in Him. God’s love sent Jesus into this world to be lifted up and then to die so that we might have an eternal relationship with God the Father, our Creator, through Jesus.

Jesus goes to a very familiar story written by Moses with Nicodemus. In this story, the people rebelled against God and were complaining about God's provision. God allowed poisonous snakes in the camp to bite the people and then told Moses to craft a bronze serpent and place it on a pole. He had to tell the people that those who looked up at the bronze snake, in obedience, would be saved. (If you have time, go back and read this story! Awesome stuff! Numbers 21:4-9)

This is exactly what Nicodemus needed to do. He needed to take a step of faith, take his eyes off himself and look to Jesus as his Messiah sent from God. He needed to put His trust in Jesus. Did you see a glimpse of Jesus in the books of Moses? What a strong symbol of what was to happen on the cross. Jesus was to die for our sins, to take away the bite of the serpent Satan, to free us from the venom of sin and heal us. As Jesus would hang on the cross, Satan thought he had his victory, but just the opposite was about to take place. On the cross Jesus died, but really it was the death of sin and Satan’s grip over us (1 Cor. 15:55-57)

What happened to Nicodemus? Keep your eyes open and we will run into him later in Jesus' life.

Do you have a friend who has not yet seen with faith past this physical life to the One who can offer the Way to a relationship with God? Spend a few minutes praying for your friend. I would challenge you to share who Jesus is with that friend today.

Or maybe someone like ol' Nic.... What we might call "religiously lost". This is a hard group of people... because churches are filled with them. They see themselves as religious... maybe even Christian... but their lives aren't shaped or changed by the Word of God.

These friends of ours need to hear that it is possible to be born again and experience a real, authentic relationship with God through Jesus christ. Challenge them to take their eyes off of themselves and this physical world and look on Jesus, the author and perfecter of Faith.


Larry - January 16th, 2023 at 7:32am

Lord help me, "To fix my eyes on You, the author and perfector of my faith"!

Mark Hudson - January 16th, 2023 at 7:36am

As I read through the scripture and John's comments I thought of us today in comparison to the Jews. Why do we attend church? What do we think about while we are at church? Is our attendance just part of a ritual we go through every week? Once we leave church, is it forgotten until the next Sunday?

I feel, sometimes, that we are like the Jews in Jesus' time. We come to church on a weekly (annual) basis to receive atonement from God for our shortcomings the week before. Are we more interested in the religion of attending church than we are on what God, Jesus, wants for us? I hope not.

Nicodemus was searching for something. The problem was that he was torn between religion and faith. Because he couldn't see "faith" but could see the Jewish religious rituals he couldn't make up his mind what to do. He was a leader of the Jewish council. He had status. At this time I think Nicodemus knew, or felt, there was more to what God wanted for him, and others, than what the Jewish religion offered. He was searching as many of us are today. He couldn't or wouldn't, completely open his heart to Jesus. Like many of us today.

I pray for faith. I hope we are more faithful than religious.

Amanda Welch - January 16th, 2023 at 7:54am

As I read, I wanted so badly for Nicodemus to follow Jesus! It’s hard to wrap your mind around being told these things by Christ and still being bound by religion.

I am sure he “wanted” to follow him- but his heart was too caught up in the world to actually do it.

Makes me wonder how caught up am I? Do I care too much what others think of me or am I afraid to lose it all? Can I wholeheartedly follow Jesus in the bold way He wants? Will I live up to the calling He had placed on my life?

Great thoughts this morning!

Dana Waits - January 16th, 2023 at 9:56am

Nicodemus had a “head vs heart” defining moment. Because of who he was and steeped in the old law, he had a hard time believing another “way” to God. Yet he knew that that no one had ever been able to perform miracles like Jesus. He identifies him as “teacher” and tells him he must be from God, yet his mind can’t conceive it. I think it must have been so very hard for Nicodemus to come to terms with his whole life’s core beliefs being blown out of the water!! Jesus’s teaching was nothing like what the Jewish leaders had ever expected. They were waiting for an earthly king to deliver them. Always following customs and rituals, that’s why it was so hard for him to believe what Jesus was teaching.

Jesus laid it on the line for Nicodemus that night and for me and all of us when we have our “how can this be” moments. When we choose to marry our heads and hearts to accept that Jesus is the only “Way, Truth and Life” and that no man comes to the Father except through Jesus! I can only imagine how Nicodemus’s head was swirling with all Jesus was revealing to him in that moment.

It is hard to imagine the love of Jesus. That he would bear our sins and die for us to give us salvation and everlasting life. In return he asks for our hearts - our faith in Him, and he gives us His Spirit!!! Sweetest deal out there, and I am guilty of not sharing it enough!!

This passage of scripture also includes the beloved John 3:16. I am so grateful for the gift of salvation through Jesus my Savior.

Emily McCauley - January 16th, 2023 at 1:43pm

“Being born of water and Spirit” really stands out to me. We have to have both. We can get baptized but we need the Spirit to live out inside of us, always.

So many times we see people get baptized and they go and live the same life style and nothing changes and it’s because they don’t live by the Spirit. This is because a lot of them just don’t know. satan has hiding the Holy Spirit and made him scary to us so that we won’t get to know him. Therefore, our lives never change.

Such a good verse to really make us think, are we living and asking the Holy Spirit to fill us on the daily. We have to or we will stay luke warm.

Reading the Word, will help us come to know the Spirit more and more but we have to ask him for help and activate him constantly. Sometimes, it’s hard to comprehend the Bible because our minds are everywhere but this is where the Spirit comes in and will help you but we have to ask him.

Thanks Jon, for this great study!

Denise - January 16th, 2023 at 2:18pm

I see Jesus telling Nicodemus that this isn’t a flesh thing vs 6, it’s a spirit thing. The Spirit gives birth to spirit. Again in vs12 He separates earthly and heavenly things and asks Nic if you don’t believe in the earthly how will you believe in the heavenly. That was our sermon yesterday believe. I can’t do anything to make me good enough but because I believe In Jesus I am not condemned I am saved.

Only God could put this together that the very one who was going to sacrifice His life is giving Nicodemus the salvation message.

For me this shows how much Jesus loved mankind I see His love for Nicodemus in the fact that He was willing to take the time to explain it to him.

Courtney Bailey - January 16th, 2023 at 7:33pm

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is:

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Wow, how powerful is that one verse!

Amy Jett - January 18th, 2023 at 7:48am

I love this trend that Jesus has of meeting people where they are. Nicodemus came to him in the cover of night to protect himself, but Jesus didn’t care, he just met him where he is. Then he used the story of Moses to make it relevant when relating his message. These are strategies we can use too, meeting people where they are in their journeys and making the truth known by making it relevant to them.