John 3:1-17 (NIV)
John talks about darkness and light a lot. He’s actually a master of dramatic settings. So when we read these passages we’re struck by how the scene is set. In these passages, we see the context of Nicodemus’ conversation with Jesus.
It’s also noteworthy to understand why Nicodemus visits Jesus at night. He’s in the dark about his own life. Nicodemus is a Pharisee. As a Pharisee, he observed the law to a tee. Sadly, due to this, the Pharisees like Nicodemus lost the joy of loving God because they were too caught up in the rules. Also, Nicodemus wanted to learn more about this young rabbi known as Jesus since he’d heard so much about him.
What’s so fascinating is that during this conversation, Jesus engages Nicodemus in what might be construed as a non sequitur.
We see Nicodemus praising Jesus and commenting to Him that He’s the one who came from God. But, in response to Nicodemus, Jesus mentions the fact that no one can see the kingdom without first being born again.
We sometimes think we can earn our way into heaven. Nicodemus finds himself in this place. Then Nicodemus compliments Jesus for all His miraculous miracles. Jesus tells him not to get caught up in the miracles but in God. Jesus again tells Nicodemus he must be born again and to stop trying to earn his way into God’s graces. Nicodemus is missing out on his life and his relationship with family and friends.
God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that who so ever believes in him will have everlasting life. This tells us everything we need to know about God. We see how much God loved the world. His motive is love. We tend to think God is angry with us and makes us go through bad times—not true.
God sent Jesus into the world not to condemn it but to save it. Jesus came to free us from the notion that God wants to condemn us.
Whosoever believes in him—this invitation is for all—are you a whosoever? If so then this invitation is for you. Because God’s grace is for all.
Regardless of our actions, or our political beliefs—God invites us to accept His grace.
Eternal Life—Jesus tells Nicodemus he must turn his life around right now. Not later. Now. Not when he thinks he might have the time. Now.
What does it mean to be born anew? Well, Nicodemus has a hard time grasping what Jesus means by this. First of all, the very fact that Nicodemus came at night is a sign that perhaps he feared the opinions of his peers. Who, I might add, weren’t very bright themselves in my humble opinion. Nicodemus takes Jesus’ words literally and asks Him how one could go back into their mother’s womb and be born again. This causes Nicodemus to become confused about what Jesus is trying to teach him.
Can we say, “Here I am Lord.” Be accepting of God’s grace so you can be a blessing to others? Or, will we be a Nicodemus?
Eternal life begins now when we accept God’s grace. Not after we die.
Yielding to God’s grace allows us to see the possibilities of life—this is the Good news. God will never ask the world if it wants to accept His love. He simply puts His love out there. Moreover, He gave His only Son over to death for us all.
The invitation is there.
Will you accept it?
Will you run away screaming?
Whatever you decide, there’s no one who can remain neutral. Not with this kind of gift.
It’s the blessing of a new beginning—a New Year.
And that’s what I learned in Church……see ya next time!