Jesus and Nicodemus

Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish Council, or Sanhedrin, was impressed with Jesus’ miracles, but faith based on miracles alone is not enough. There must be inner cleansing, a complete change of heart brought about by the creative power of the Spirit of God. Only then can a person enter the kingdom of God (John 3:1-5; cf. Ezek 36:25-27).

Jews prided themselves that they were born Jews, and thought this guaranteed their entrance into the kingdom of God. Jesus was not concerned with physical birth or an earthly kingdom. He was talking about the work of God’s Spirit that gives repentant sinners new life and so enables them to enter God’s kingdom. Like the wind, the work of the Spirit is mysterious. It cannot be seen, though its results certainly can (John 3:6-8). Those who have personally experienced God know this new life. Those who think only in terms of earthly things will never know it (John 3:9-12).

True, no person has ever gone up into heaven to learn all about God and his ways, but Jesus Christ has come down from heaven and shown people what God is like. He is God’s gift to the world. His death on the cross is God’s way of salvation, and if people under condemnation turn to him and believe, they will have eternal life (John 3:13-15).

God’s purpose in sending his Son into the world was positive. He wanted people to believe in him and so have eternal life. But if people prefer the darkness of their own sin to the light of salvation through Jesus, they bring judgment upon themselves by their own choice (John 3:16-18). Now that Jesus has come into the world, the difference between light and darkness, good and evil, is clearly seen. People either come into the light of Jesus for cleansing or remain in the darkness of their sin. Once they have come into God’s light, they see that every action of their new life is only the result of God’s work within them (John 3:19-21).

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