Summary: How to live into the Kingdom of God.
“The New Birth”
We’ve been celebrating children, students and teachers this morning.
And one of the many things Parkview is blessed with is an abundance of Sunday School teachers who put a lot of hard work into what they do.
It takes a lot of dedication to prepare a lesson each week…especially when you have no guarantee as to whether you will have ten people show up or one or two.
It is my prayer that more and more of us will take advantage of the Sunday school classes, the Youth Group, Kid’s Zone, the United Methodist Women’s Circle Groups, the United Methodist Men, and the Bible Studies that take place here…because it is in these small groups that we learn…that we really learn about Jesus and how our lives can be changed through a personal relationship with Him.
And it is in these groups that we truly find new bonds of friendship as we fellowship one with another.
One of the great things that the church has to offer that no other institution has is a group of people…bonded by the love of Christ…who are here for one another through thick and thin.
For here in the church, we are brothers and sisters…tied together, not by blood but by the same Holy Spirit Who lives inside all who believe.
And this is what our Gospel Lesson is about this morning.
We are confronted by a man named Nicodemus who comes to Jesus seeking this intimacy with God and with other people that he has been searching for his entire life.
You see, Nicodemus is a Pharisee and a ruler of the Jewish people.
He is a member of the Sanhedrin which only has seventy members.
It was the supreme court of the Jews.
The Sanhedrin had religious jurisdiction over every Jew in the world.
So Nicodemus was a powerful man, and it is clearly amazing that he would even bother to come to Jesus seeking…
…seeking something which, deep down inside he knew he did not have…
…seeking a real and tangible relationship with God.
But this just goes to show that no matter how much power one has in this world, no matter how much wealth a person may have in this life…
…if they do not have a relationship with God…
…then their life is hollow and empty…
…and ultimately devoid of true eternal meaning.
Everyone needs Jesus.
Everyone needs what only Jesus can offer.
And that is new life.
Only Jesus offers us eternal life, which is the kind of life that God lives; its God’s life…and being a part of it.
Eternal life is to be lifted up above the merely human, temporary, passing things of this life and into that joy and peace that belongs to God.
And God wants us to experience this joy and peace which belongs to Him.
He wants to give it to us for free.
He wants us to possess it, just as He possesses it.
We are told that Nicodemus comes to Jesus at night.
And it makes sense that this is the way it happens.
For it is dark at night, and therefore this symbolizes that Nicodemus…in the darkness of his spiritual journey…
…in the darkness of his understanding about relationship with God…
…is attracted to the Light of the world…
…Who is Jesus.
So, when Nicodemus comes to Jesus…
… he is, in a sense, like a moth attracted to the Light shining in the darkness of this world.
He has seen something in Jesus, in the way Jesus loves, heals and relates to others that he wants for himself.
He has also seen something in the relationship between Jesus and those who are Jesus’ followers or disciples that he knows he is lacking in his own life…
…but he wants it!
He wants to be part of it.
Because in all his searching in this life, he has never witnessed the love and caring one for another that Jesus and His followers have for each other.
Yes, Nicodemus, wants what he does not yet possess.
He desires to find what he has been searching for his entire life, and he sees what he has been searching for his entire life in Jesus Christ.
So, Nicodemus comes to Jesus in the darkness of his understanding…and this is the place that all of us come to Jesus.
We want more out of this life than what we are getting.
We want more out of life than the empty, hollowness of what we are experiencing.
So we come to Jesus, not understanding what we will find…
…not even understanding what Jesus is about…
…but sensing that there is a Light shining in the darkness…
…and we want to see…
…we want to get a glimpse of what this often seemingly meaningless life is about.