The passage we are targeting today is from one of the most familiar passages in the Bible. In fact, included in this passage is the most familiar and memorized verse in the entire Bible, John 3:16, where Jesus said, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
This story is also one of the familiar stories in the Bible. It is the story of a man named Nicodemus, who came to Jesus seeking direction from him. Nicodemus was one of the more incredible men of his day. He was a respected man, who was well-known and well-liked by the people of Jerusalem. He was also very wealthy. Historians tell us that Nicodemus was the chief architect behind the waterworks system in Jerusalem. Nicodemus was also very religious. He was a member of the Sanhedrin, the elite spiritual leaders of the Jews. That this well-known, well-liked, wealthy and God-fearing man would come to Jesus, who was disliked and even hated by many of Nicodemus’ peers is a wonder.
Question – “Who comes to your mind when you think of wealthy, respected and influential individuals in your community, city, state or nation?” Nevertheless, with all that he had going for him, Nicodemus knew that something was missing in his life. Therefore, he came to visit Jesus at night, at a time when few people would note his visit. He also came with affirming words for Jesus (John 3:2), but Jesus knew Nicodemus’ real reason for visiting with Him. That’s why Jesus overlooked the words of praise that Nicodemus uttered, and got right to the point declaring in John 3:3, “I assure you, unless you are born again, you can never see the Kingdom of God.”
Second Question – “Why are humans inclined to believe that their respect, moral lives, wealth or even “religiosity” enable them to be right with God?” Nicodemus was perhaps counting on all these things to make him right with God, but Jesus dashed those hopes immediately by telling him about the required “new birth experience” that everyone must have to be right with God and to have eternal life. Then Jesus said in John 3:6, “Humans can produce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives new life from heaven.”
Third Question – “What does ‘new life from heaven’ look like?” As we read through the pages of the New Testament we discover that “new life from heaven” includes forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38, 3:19), a right standing with God (2 Corinthians 5:21), special status with God and membership in the family of God (1 Peter 2:9-10). “New life from heaven” also includes having abundant life and the righteousness, peace and joy of the Lord in our lives (John 10:10, 14:27, 15:11; Romans 14:17). To have “new life from heaven” also means that we can daily count on the presence (Matthew 28:20, Hebrews 13:5), power (Ephesians 3:20), provision (Philippians 4:19) and protection (2 Corinthians 1:8-10, 2 Timothy 4:17-19) of the Lord in our lives.
Final Question – “What would life be like for you if you didn’t have ‘new life from heaven’?”
As you pray today: 1) Ascertain whether you have been born again and if you haven’t, pray right now to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior; 2) Thank the Lord for the wonderful blessings and benefits of having “new life from heaven”; and 3) Pray for those whom you sense have never been born again and who are not experiencing this “new life from heaven.”