In John chapter 3 a man named Nicodemus comes at night to have a conversation with Jesus. He is a very important person in Israel. He is a member of the Jewish ruling council. He is a deeply devout and religious man.
I believe Nicodemus comes to Jesus, not out of a sense of investigation for his job. He visits Jesus because it’s personal. He comes at night because he can’t risk his own position to be seen with Jesus in the daylight.
Nicodemus says, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.” (verse 2)
Jesus’ response is so interesting. He doesn’t say… “Wow, hey man, thanks for the support. That means a lot coming from someone in your position!” Instead, Jesus ignores the compliment and gets right to the issue on Nicodemus’ mind… “Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” (Vs. 3)
A person can be deeply religious and still lost in their sins.
Being religious is not the same as being a Christian. One could not get much more religious than Nicodemus, but our Lord’s words make it clear that as “religious” as he is, Nicodemus is not yet a Christian. He must be reborn from above.
Being religious is never enough. If it were, Nicodemus wouldn’t have had the time or interest to meet with Jesus. But he comes despite all of his religious activity because there is still an emptiness in his heart.
Jesus is saying, to see the Kingdom of God, we must be born again.
Let me remind you that Jesus spoke these words not to some immoral outcast, but to one of the most religious men of his day. By any standard Nicodemus was a very good man and certainly a man we would admire for his intense devotion to God. Yet Jesus told him, “You must be born again.”
All of us need to be born again.
- Good people
- Religious people
- People who refrain from the bad sins
- People who grew up in church
- People who are church members
Salvation, as Jesus explains it, is not becoming morally better; it’s having a whole new basis of right standing before God. Something that doesn’t come because you did good works, but something that was given to you.
Through salvation, God gives us a new life. Jesus said in John 10:10 - “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Today’s Challenge: Have you been born again? Don’t let this day pass without having a spiritual birth. How do we do this? Through faith. We believe Jesus is the Son of God. We believe his death on the cross is sufficient payment for our sins. We believe he will save and forgive us. Faith leads to confession, repentance, and following.
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