Summary: Nicodemus sought out Jesus, and found new birth.
“Jesus and the Seeker”
By: Kenneth Emerson Sauer, Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church, Newport
Back in 1976, Jimmy Carter was running against President Gerald Ford.
And you might recall that Jimmy Carter caused a bit of a sensation.
Because during his campaign, Jimmy Carter said publicly that he was a Born again
It caused a stir, and it was a term that was used about him over and over again.
Wow...Jimmy Carter is not just your ordinary run of the mill Christian.
He is a born again Christian!
A few years ago, I was the Youth Director at my home church in Syracuse, NY., and a
young girl in the group asked me about “those born again type of Christians.”
Now, what would You answer to that?
I told her that there is actually no other sort.
If you are a Christian, then you are a born again Christian.
In fact, there’s no such thing as a non born again Christian.
When I was still in high school, I had heard about born again Christians...
I had even met a few...
But I didn’t understand the concept.
I thought that a born again Christian was a person who had once been a Christian....had
somehow stopped being a Christian at some point....and then had become a Christian
Somehow, it seemed to me, that they had messed things up somewhere along the
line....whereas the rest of us had stayed the course.
The only kink in that notion was that the people who called themselves born again
Christians seemed to be the people who were actually excited about their faith.
Somehow, for them, going to church was something they looked forward too....reading
the Bible was something they actually did--even in their spare time.
And they seemed to be the only ones who knew a lot about the Bible.
When I was a senior in high school some friends of mine and I were discussing the
future....we were talking about college and we were talking about careers....
I don’t think I said it out loud, but I thought to myself, “When I grow-up I’m going to be
a Methodist Minister.”
I had felt that call as far back as I could remember....
But I knew that something had to happen to me before I could make that dream a reality.
I knew that I was missing something...but I wasn’t quite sure what that “something was”.
And maybe that is how Nicodemus felt when he came to speak to Jesus secretly at night.
Nicodemus had spent his entire life trying to follow God.
Keeping the commandments, and doing all that their traditions required of him.
He was respected by all as an elder and ruler.
But deep down inside Nicodemus was missing something...
And he knew it.
Nicodemus was a Seeker.
On the outside Nicodemus was the perfect example of a Jewish Rabbi.
But inside, like all of us, he knew that there were secret sins that he had struggled with
his whole life.
At first he may have thought that these things were the follies of youth, that they would
disapear with age.
But instead of getting better with age, the weaknesses of human beings only grow more
and more ingrained.
Like many of us, Nicodemus wanted to change....but was unable to do it!
When I was a teenager....thinking about becoming a minister....I thought to myself,
“I’m going to have to clean up my act first. I don’t know how I’m gonna do it.”
“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!”
Nicodemus is right.
Changing ourselves is impossible!
The child development experts tell us that the first two years of a child’s life are the most
crucial because in that time the majority of personality is formed.
The farther we are away from the womb, the harder it is to change who we are.
We might get a little better at covering it up, or smoothing over some of the rough edges,
but the inside is still the same.
No matter what we do, everything that we make of this life is the result of what we are
Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.”
This is true with everything that we do.
If our hearts are full of bitterness or rage then the work that we do, the words that we say,
even the way that we drive a car or play a game will reflect what we are on the inside.
“Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.”
The Kingdom of God is Spiritual. And to enter it, we must be born of the Spirit.