John 3:1-21 (NIV)
Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”
Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”
“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”
Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.
“You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Today, I want to look at what attitudes and commitments we are called to when entering the church community by looking at John 3:1-21, specifically by looking at the religious leader, Nicodemus. There are three main parts of this passage that really highlight and model what the life of someone who follows Jesus looks like.
- Nicodemus acknowledges that Jesus is from God. (v. 2) As Christians, we often refer to this as justification. This is the single best decision that any human ever made.
- Nicodemus asks questions. (vv. 4, 9) As a religious leader who was used to giving people answers and divine interpretations, I imagine it felt pretty weird to be asking Jesus these questions. They are honest and good questions that any human would have and it is so good that he asked them because…
- It led to Nicodemus being humiliated, (v. 10) and it is through humiliation that the gospel is revealed to him. (vv. 16-17) If Nicodemus had never asked these questions, we would have never heard the greatest news there is. Jesus came to save us.
When you follow Jesus and enter his community, you have to be ready to ask questions and to be humiliated. Jesus knew that Nicodemus had to be humbled to truly hear and accept what he had to say. This is the case for many of us today. Even though we don’t have Jesus to answer all of our questions, we have a vast community of people filled with wisdom and knowledge.
Father, we thank you for the community you have blessed us with and we pray that we feel no shame in asking questions like Nicodemus. We pray that we are guided by truth and wisdom. We thank you for your love, mercy, and patience. In Jesus, Amen.