Think, Act, Be, Day 12-John 3:1-18
‘Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’
Of all the things that surprised Nicodemus, the one statement that he could not figure out was the new birth that comes from Jesus. Nicodemus assumed that all of this was believing in Jesus was on him—if he could just figure out how to climb back in the womb. Jesus explained that new birth was God’s work—not Nicodemus’s. God would change him by invading his life. Nicodemus simply needed to trust in the God sitting right in front of him.
We reenact our salvation every time we see a baptism. The ordinance a great presentation for believers to remember what Jesus does for us. The candidate places his faith and trust in the hands of someone else. When lowered under the water, the individual is trusting that the baptizer will pull him back up. For that one brief moment in time, the candidate thinks about the possibility—what if he lets me go? But knowing, and trusting the one baptizing, the candidate realizes—he would never drop me this far down to leave me now. We live that way the rest of our lives. We are continually letting God drown away all of our efforts and achievements in order for us to be prepared to receive what God had done for us all along. He loves us.
So Nicodemus realizes– and so do we– that belief begins with two words: God gave.
3 Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. 2 He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.” 3 Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. 6 What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ 8 The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” 9 Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?
11 “Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14 And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
17 “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God.