Summary: There remains for all of us, Jewish believers, Christians and Muslims only one name under heaven by which we can be saved. Jesus Christ. Do you need to take your spiritual life into the garage for an overhaul?
Even an Old Man Can
I know many of you have heard this passage many, many times and can probably quote it to me. But before you all take a mental holiday I want to try to present this passage with a new perspective that may interest you.
Easter is a time when we think about the sacrifice, redemption, and resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. These are things that we all know well or do we? Just like Nicodemus we must not assume that we possess sufficient knowledge of God to ensure our entrance into heaven.
This was the situation with Nicodemus as we find him in todays scripture. Nicodemus is an older man who has spent his life studying and teaching and correcting others about the word of God. In fact Nicodemus is a man considered an expert and trusted source when it comes to spiritual things.
He is so respected that he sits on the Jewish Sanhedrin council. That council deals with only the truly great conflicts and problems of the faithful in order to give the people the correct direction and interpretation of Gods word. So what Nicodemus says does matter a great deal to all the Jewish believers.
Yet we find him sneaking around at night in order to gain the counsel of Jesus of Nazareth. Nicodemus does not ask a question but he does make a statement. , Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.
Nicodemus acknowledges who Jesus is and where His power comes from and also acknowledges that the work Jesus has been doing can only be described as miraculous. So what is the problem? Before Nicodemus can say any thing else Jesus is offering spiritual answers to the questions on Nicodemus heart.
The Jews were waiting for a Messiah to usher in the Kingdom of God. Nicodemus thought that just maybe all his friends in the Sanhedrin were wrong about Jesus, they did not see Jesus as a Messiah but maybe this Jesus was the real deal. That is what Nicodemus sought to determine when he went sneaking around at night looking for Jesus.
Jesus puts into words what Nicodemus is wrestling with. How can the Kingdom of God come to the Jewish Nation and what must we do to prepare for its coming?
Jesus answers with this now famous passage You must be born again. These few simple words have been at the heart of great conflict for millions of people for over two thousand years now. They have been a conflict for Jews, Christians and Muslims. If we could understand these words we could eliminate the conflict between these religious groups and remove the conflict between God and ourselves.
What is it that Jesus is saying here?
Two weeks ago my family and I prepared to leave for Mexico. We did all we could to get ready, pack our bags, get our tickets, plan our excursion and set out our budget. But before we left unexpected things came up and one of those unexpected things devastated my daughter.
She had just bought a used car which I had helped her pick out. It was more money than she had wanted to spend but she made the final decision. For three months that car had taken her to where she needed to go until just before our vacation disaster struck. She brought it in for its regular maintenance only to be told that the motor would now need to be replaced and it would cost $5,000.00 that she did not have.
For the last three months she has been paying off the debt and was finally starting to see some daylight. She works two jobs regularly and is also paying down her University debt while living at home. In her world she has been doing everything she possibly can to pay off her debt and clear herself financially.
It now seems to her that she will never get ahead and never get to a point where she can be independent. Yet she is doing everything within her power to put things right. She was devastated and I found her crying crocodile tears as she got the news over the phone just hours before we left.
My daughters situation helps illustrate for us what Nicodemus is facing. For years Nicodemus has been using the Ten Commandments and the Jewish law that included another 600 plus rules to base his life and the life of the Jewish people on. They had trusted that their knowledge of God was enough to get them to heaven. They thought they knew God pretty well. But when Jesus showed up it was like the motor of their car blew up.