February 24, Tuesday
One evening a Pharisee named Nicodemus approached Jesus privately. “Teacher, we’ve been talking about You and recognize that You must have come from God because no one could do the signs and wonders You’re doing unless God was empowering him.”
“Listen to Me,” Jesus answered, “no one can possibly know what God is doing unless they have been reborn from Above.”
Nicodemus was confused. “Surely You’re not suggesting that a grown man like me has to get back into my mother’s womb to be born all over again.”
Jesus explained further, saying, “You are thinking strictly from a physical perspective. You have been born physically; but to see the kingdom of God, you must have a life conceived by the Spirit in your spirit. This is something that happens invisibly, like wind. You can’t see the wind, but you can hear and see when it is blowing.”
Nicodemus couldn’t wrap his mind around this concept. “I just don’t understand,” he told Jesus.
Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Aren’t you a prominent teacher in Israel? How is it that you don’t already know this? I can tell that you don’t trust My testimony. This is so basic. If you don’t grasp this, how can you hope to understand the larger Message God is speaking? There is only One who came from heaven and can truly explain the truths of heaven — that is, the Son of Man.
“Nicodemus, do you recall the story of Moses putting the brass serpent on a pole in the desert? That was a foreshadow of how the Son of Man must be lifted up for the healing and deliverance of all who look to Him in faith. Trusting God’s heart is at the center of the Message. It was out of His exceedingly great love for mankind that God gave His Son to deliver them from death and to impart to them His very own eternal life. The Son was not sent as Judge to condemn but as Savior to rescue from condemnation.
“Those who accept the Son for Who He is and receive His message have escaped judgment. Unfortunately, because most prefer living in darkness (where they can get away with doing evil) and hate the light that exposes their misdeeds, they remain condemned.
“Those with nothing to hide, whose actions originate in God, have no problem being transparent, letting their deeds be seen for what they are: truth!”
We have no record of how Nicodemus responded at the time or what else they may have discussed.
From Jerusalem Jesus and His disciples went to a town called Aenon near Salim where John was baptizing. As Jesus taught, His disciples baptized. Some of the people went to John with the report that Jesus was drawing bigger crowds than he was.
John replied with sincerity and humility, “What we have is from God. My message was not something I made up to attract a following. You recall how clearly I stated that I was not the Messiah, just sent to prepare the way for Him, like the best man introducing the bridegroom at a wedding. As ‘best man’ I’m not jealous but thrilled for Him. He will be the focus of attention, I must fade into the background.
“This is only right since He has come from heaven and I am from the earth. He is explaining life from heaven’s perspective but most folks won’t accept it. Those who do believe Him discover God’s truth. He speaks God’s words and everything He says and does is by the Spirit of God.
“It is evident that the Father loves the Son and has put Him in charge of everything. So everyone who accepts and trusts the Son gets in on everything He is and has . . . forever! Conversely, those who reject Him miss out on His life and can only look forward to God’s holy judgment.”