Hiding under the cover of darkness, one of the band of murderers who would eventually take His life, came to Him out of curiosity. Maybe Nick just needed a few answers for himself. Maybe he wanted to know more about the man his murderous band seemed to hate. Sneaking around at night usually will suggest the one doing the sneaking is afraid of something. It doesn’t tell us if he is guilty of a crime or merely afraid of being ridiculed, but he does possess some type of fear.
John 3:1-2 (ESV)
1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus [our Nick], a ruler of the Jews.
2 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.”
What exactly was his question? There is only a statement from Nick, no question at all. However, if you look at the statement, you can see the question hidden within. “Jesus, Rabbi (which means teacher), you seem to be from God based on what we see and all, but could you just confirm it, please? You are from God, right?” Or, maybe Nick’s question was much deeper than what we see here on the surface. According to Jesus’ answer, Nick’s true question was much deeper.
John 3:3 (ESV)
3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Jesus knew the answer Nick needed to ask. How can I be in God’s kingdom? This is the question Jesus answered. Having been sent from God, Jesus alone could give directions to God’s Kingdom. No man had been to heaven or had come from heaven to give directions. Jesus came from God for this purpose.
“One must be born again.” Nick was thinking, “Ummmmmm, how can this happen?” Jesus would explain it throughout the course of their conversation (John 3:1-21). There is much truth to glean from Jesus’ teaching.
Mainly, there is only one way to God’s Kingdom.
There are not a million ways, many different paths, or even a few ways. There is one. The so-called prophet of islam didn’t come up with the way, didn’t invent the way, or even know the way for himself. His “way” is the way of destruction. According to John 10:10, since that so-called prophet likes to steal, kill and destroy, we can see Jesus would say he is a thief (meaning he is from satan) and not a true prophet at all.
Many teachers have taught there were many ways to God’s Kingdom, but Jesus taught there was one way and one way alone. Since God sent Him and His actions proved He was from God, we should listen to Him about this one way.
Jesus healed people, many people. He raised people from the dead, several people. Jesus even defeated death Himself, something no other person has ever done. He proved He is the One we should listen to.
His answer to the question is, “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
“What does it meant to be born again?” You ask. I respond, “You’ve been reading ahead, haven’t you?”
John 3:5-6 (ESV)
5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Being born again is to be born spiritually. Being born of water is a physical birth. Spiritual birth is what we need since we are all spiritually dead due to sin. Every person who has ever lived has sinned, from Adam and Eve until now. The Bible says, “For all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God.”
How is one born spiritually? How are they born again? Let’s look further at what Jesus says.
John 3:13-15 (ESV)
13 No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.
14 And 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.
Jesus would be lifted up. The people of Israel needed to focus their eyes upon the serpent in the wilderness to be saved from their curse. The people of God are saved from our curse (the curse of sin) when we look to Jesus. When we place our trust in Him, we have eternal life.
The most famous verse in the Bible says it this way…
John 3:16 (ESV)
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Believing in Jesus means more than simply believing a few facts about Jesus. We must believe Him when He tells us to follow Him. We must follow Him when and where He tells us. We must trust what He says. We cannot believe in Him if we don’t believe what He says. Too many have thought they were born again, but haven’t had any intention in following Jesus. This is not a biblical belief. It is not being born again. A biblical faith results in a changed life. We must be willing to repent of our sin and follow the Lord, walking in the Light with Him from this day and throughout eternity. Jesus point this out in the next few verses.
John 3:17-21 (ESV)
17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.
20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.
21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”
We cannot do what is true or come to the light without trusting Jesus. He gives us the Holy Spirit to walk with us so that we might be able to live with Jesus and for Jesus with our very lives. Before being born again, we cannot do anything for His glory. After coming to faith in Jesus and being born again, we now have a new nature, one which can walk with the Spirit of God and begin to live for Him. Before being born again, we are outsiders, enemies of God in our minds. Trusting in Jesus enables us to become a living part of the family of God.
I’m thankful for the original “Nick at Night” going out at night, under the cover of darkness. I’m thankful he was fearful enough to search for answers from Jesus. Without Jesus’ answer, we would know less about how to be born into the Kingdom of God.
We should all come to Jesus with a fearful expectation (or a spirit of awe). We should listen to the answer He gave to Nick. I pray those who read this will surrender their lives to Jesus, believing in Him to give them eternal life. He gives life abundant and eternal to all who trust Him.
If you need to trust Jesus, please give me a call or send me an email. I would love to help you surrender to the Savior of the world.
In Jesus’ service,
Pastor Jerry Jeter