Summary: Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and if we commit ourselves to Him, He will give us eternal life. But also, in addition, by committing ourselves to Him, He will empower us with His Holy Spirit to equip us for this life here on earth.
“But will God indeed dwell on the earth?” asked King Solomon as he dedicated the Temple (1 Kings 8:27). A good question indeed. God’s glory had dwelt in the Tabernacle during the wandering years (Exodus 40:34) and then in the Jerusalem Temple when it was built (1 Kings 8:10-11); but God’s glory had departed from disobedient Israel (Ezekiel 9:3, 10:4, 18, 11:22-23).
But the Old Testament prophets pointed to a coming Messiah. 600 years before the birth of Christ, Isaiah wrote “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His Name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah chapter 53 is amazing. And we recently read in our study of the prophet Jeremiah about the “New Covenant”, chapter 31, verses 31-34. This was written hundreds of years before the birth of Christ.
“Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
After the miraculous birth of Jesus, the Glory of God appeared to His people again, in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ. As Pastor Warren Wiersbe writes, “The writers of the four Gospels have given us snapshots of Jesus’ life on earth, for no complete biography could ever be written. John concludes his Gospel message by saying “And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” So Matthew wrote his Gospel with his fellow Jews in mind and emphasized that Jesus of Nazareth had fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies. Mark wrote for the busy Romans. Whereas Matthew emphasized the King, Mark presented the Servant, ministering to the needy people. Luke wrote his Gospel for the Greeks and introduced them to the sympathetic Son of Man. But it was given to John, the beloved disciple, to write a book for both the Jews and Gentiles, presenting Jesus as the Son of God. The first three Gospels describe the events in the life of Christ, and John emphasized the meaning of these events. But there is one major theme that runs through John’s Gospel; that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and if you commit yourself to Him, He will give you eternal life. But also, in addition, by committing ourselves to Him, He will empower us with His Holy Spirit to equip us for this life here on earth. No other belief system or religion can make these claims.
So we are reading from John’s Gospel, chapter 3, verses 1-20, Christ’s encounter with a man named Nicodemus. Benjamin Franklin was a great statesman and inventor, but he was also a great correspondent. He wrote and received letters from famous people from all over the world. One day he received what could well have been the most important letter ever to come to his desk. It was from the well-known preacher George Whitefield. “I find that you grow more and more famous in the learned world” Whitefield wrote. “As you have made such progress in investigating the mysteries of electricity, I now humbly urge you to give diligent heed to the mystery of the New Birth. It is a most important and interesting study and, when mastered, will richly repay you for your pains.” We read of the New Birth in the third chapter of John.
Nicodemus was originally attracted to Jesus because of the miracles he preformed. He wanted to know more about Jesus and the doctrines that he taught. Nicodemus himself was the teacher of the Jews, a well trained, highly educated Jewish man with a high moral character and a thirst for knowledge. He was one of the esteemed Pharisees which meant he lived by the strictest possible religious rules. He was also a member of the Sanhedrin. The Sanhedrin represented the ruling body of the Jews in Palestine. It was the Jewish Supreme Court or ruling council made up of the High Priest, or president, chief priests, Elders who were family heads and scribes for a total of 71 people. It executed both civil and criminal jurisdiction according to the Jewish law, however, capital punishment cases required the sanction of the Roman procurator. Does this body sound familiar to you? It should. They obviously play a big part leading up to the crucifixion of Christ. Nicodemus was deeply sincere in his quest for truth. There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 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.”