Nicodemus Meets Jesus, We continue our series of devotions called "Words of Christ" with an encounter between Jesus and Nicodemus. Who is this Nicodemus, and why did He come to Jesus at night?
1 There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”
3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”
5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
John 3:1-8, NKJV
Nicodemus Meets Jesus: Questions
We continue our series of devotions called "Words of Christ" with an encounter between Jesus and Nicodemus. Again, rather than focus on the event, we will focus on the actual words of Christ Himself. You may find devotions which focus on the actual encounter between Jesus and Nicodemus in my series of devotions from John 3.
Nicodemus, enthralled by the miracles he had seen Jesus do, arranged to meet Jesus at night. At first, it may seem that Jesus' first words to Nicodemus were rather strange: "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
Yet, we must remember that Jesus, being God, understood the very heart needs of Nicodemus. Nicodemus needed a new heart--a heart for God. In other words, he needed to be born again!
Nicodemus Meets Jesus: Perplexed
Nicodemus was perplexed, however, at the words of Jesus. To what was Jesus referring? How could someone be born again? In more lengthy detail, Jesus explained: "Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." In other words, Jesus was not speaking of a physical birth, but rather of a spiritual birth. This birth occurs only through the working of the Holy Spirit.
In perceiving the confusion of Nicodemus, Jesus continued, "Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from or where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit."
In our day one is familiar with the expression "born again Christians," but what, really does that mean? How can one tell if one is born again or not? That is precisely what Jesus is referring to in verse 8. One cannot look at believers and non-believers and see a difference, yet one can see the difference in their lives.
Salvation, or being born again, is a gift of God. Through the Spirit, it is God who saves. One does not look any different, but upon being born again, one's actions are quite different.
We live in a cynical, depraved world. One hardly even blushes anymore when hearing of the sins of the people of this world. Greed, anger, murder, envy, selfishness, etc. are so common that we hardly note their existence.
Does that mean that Christians do not sin? No! As long as we who are in Christ live in this world we will wrestle with sin. However, because the Holy Spirit dwells within our hearts, we see a gradual change as we are growing in our innermost hearts to become more and more like Christ.
Nicodemus Meets Jesus: You Must Be Born Again!
That is the change mentioned by Jesus to Nicodemus. In the following verses, Jesus will even expand more on this idea of being born again.
Note that Jesus came to this world for one purpose: to save a people for Himself. The words of Christ were often totally misunderstood by the people--even the religious experts of the day. As we read and study the very words of Christ, we will see His continual focus on that purpose.
By the grace of God, may we, through the work of the Holy Spirit, be brought to faith in Christ. And, by the grace of God, may our lives be shown to gradually exhibit the love, joy, and peace of Christ more and more. May we shake off the habits and attitudes so predominant in our culture today and live our lives to the honor and glory of God alone.
God Bless You,