There was a man named Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader who was a Pharisee. After dark one evening, he came to speak with 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.” John 3:1-2NLT
This Messiah had something bigger in mind. He came to liberate the whole world.
Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” John 3:3 NLT
Born “again”? This was new. And it wasn’t what Nicodemus came to talk about.
“What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?” Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.” “How are these things possible?” Nicodemus asked. John 3:4-9 NLT
Now I see, but how could I have missed this?
But if you don’t believe me when I tell you about earthly things, how can you possibly believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ever gone to heaven and returned. But the Son of Man has come down from heaven. John 3:12-13 NLT
And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life. John 3:14-15 NLT
There was nothing in Nicodemus’s theology that allowed for an executed Messiah.
Jesus equated belief or trust with eternal life.
But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. Isaiah 53:5 NLT
Forgiveness and eternal life are not attained through the Law. Forgiveness requires a payment.
Faith in and love for Jesus led him to do something Jesus’ closest followers lacked the courage to do.
The law wasn’t enough; he needed grace.
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave[a] his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17 NLT
Eternal life isn’t a reward for good people; it’s God’s gift to forgiven people.
Homework: Are you good enough?