Eyewitness: pp. 40, 41
In your Bible: Numbers 21:8,9; Ezekiel 36:25-27; John 3
Early in Jesus’ ministry he explained spiritual birth. This appears only in the Gospel of John.
During Passover week in Jerusalem, many were captivated by what Jesus said. However, Nicodemus was the only member of the Jewish ruling council who met alone with Jesus. Later he defends Jesus (John 7:50-52), and he is the one who brings spices to anoint Jesus for burial after his crucifixion (John 19:38,39). *
“I can guarantee,” Jesus said, ”you will never see the Kingdom of God unless you are born again” (Eyewitness John 3:3). Nicodemus still didn’t understand.
Nicodemus knew what Ezekiel had spoken of a new spirit within. But he did not understand the connection when Jesus said, “You must be born again.” He questioned Jesus, “What do you mean? A grown man cannot enter his mother’s womb a second time” (John 3:4 Eyewitness).
Jesus explained, “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. Do not be surprised at my saying. You must be born again” (John 3:5,6).
Jesus explanation may be understandable to us today, but it was difficult for Nicodemus to grasp. Truly, Nicodemus and Jesus had a heart to heart conversation. Yes, he did get it.
Be Lifted Up
Jesus goes on with a hint of his own crucifixion. He tells how God interceded for his children, wandering in the desert. Moses attached a bronze serpent on a pole and lifted it up, to heal his people from fiery serpents that threatened them. Then Jesus compares that with his coming death. “In the same way,” Jesus said, ”the Son of Man must be lifted up so everyone who believes in him may live” (Eyewitness John 3:14b).
Jesus continued to speak to Nicodemas, with a well-known verse for believers today. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, so that everyone who believes in him will not die but live forever” (Eyewitness John 3:16).
That encouragement helps us today. God will not condemn whoever believes in Him. Jesus continues… ”Those who love truth and desire to do right will come to the light so others can see they are doing what God wants” (Eyewitness John 3:21).
Prayer: Father, thank you for spiritual birth and loving me before I was even born. Thank you that Jesus provided for all of mankind not only to be born of the flesh but also of Your Spirit.
Questions: Why do you think Nicodemus bravely asked questions of Jesus? Have you asked Jesus to give you spiritual birth? How would you tell a friend about this?
* McGarvy and Pendleton Commentary, Classic Bible Commentaries, christianitybible.com.