Summary: This encounter between Jesus and a leading Jewish religious leader named Nicodemus deals with focus questions. Who is Jesus? What is His purpose? What exactly does Jesus come to do?
Focus Your Faith
John 3:1-17 (New International Version)
1Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2He came to Jesus at night and said, “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.”
3In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” 4“How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!”
5Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8The 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.” 9“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.
10“You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. 14Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.
16“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. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
INTRODUCTION: It’s all about focus.
In Al Ries’ book, Focus, the introduction begins with these lines, “The sun is a powerful suorce of energy. Every hour the sun washes the earth with billions of kilowatts of energy. Yet with a hat and some sun screen, you can bathe in the light of the sun for hours at a time with few ill effects. A laser is a weak source of energy. A laser takes a few watts of energy and focuses them in a coherent stream of light. But with a laser, you can drill a hole in a diamond or wipe out a cancer. It’s all about focus.”
John 3 is a focus chapter of the Bible. This encounter between Jesus and a leading Jewish religious leader named Nicodemus deals with focus questions. Who is Jesus? What is His purpose? What exactly does Jesus come to do? Jesus answer to these questions are found in the faith focus that He shares with Nicodemus and with us. Today let’s look at 3 focal points to Focus Your Faith
Focal Point 1. Start over with God through new birth. Did you see the new Staples commercial that features the easy button. Having a tough time on a test, press the easy button under your desk for the answer. Baby’s diaper a bit too messy, press the easy button for the diaper to be changed. Are you a cowboy ready to ride a bucking bronco, press the easy button to calm that horse down. Or are you a doctor facing intense surgery, press the easy button to take over?” Then the commercial asks this question, “Wouldn’t it be nice if there was an easy button for your life?”
In golf the easy button term is mulligan. A mulligan is a chance to start over with a shot. If your drive went into the water, you can take a mulligan, and start over. Some amateur golf tournaments allow players to buy mulligans. I’ve always been a proponent of having as many mulligans as one can when playing. But what about in life, where do you buy a mulligan? Is there an easy button to push?
A religious leader named Nicodemus comes to Jesus at night to talk about what Jesus is doing and teaching, and Jesus moves the discussion to do overs, to starting again, to what Jesus calls being born again. Look at how Jesus responds to Nicodemus in John 3:3, Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, unless one is born again, he cannot be in God’s kingdom.” -- (New Century Version)
Few people seemed to know his real name or age. Everyone just called him "Slusher," which is the job description for someone loading ore into an ore car in an underground mine. He was the kind of person who looks ancient when you’re a child, and when you see him forty years later, he looks the same. He lived in the desert in buildings and trailers that had been abandoned.