John, The Love of God
Have you ever been in a situation where you have just explained a complicated solution to a problem in simple terms but you could tell your child, grandchild, coworker, students, boss, friend, or family member might not be getting it because they stared at you with that deer in headlights look? Affirming your suspicions, they then answered, “Huh?” You emit a big sigh and begin again, if they let you, and try to explain the mystery in way they can understand. What’s worse, you realize they weren’t listening the first time. Frustrating, isn’t it?
That’s how God is with us. He sent His Son to explain to the world the Truth of His love for us. He sent His Son as the Way back to Him. He gave Life to all who believed. (And still does.)
Jesus explains…again to Nicodemus. “Let’s go over this again” because every time we read it we understand more because of the Spirit’s teaching revealed to us as we grow in Him. We will also understand more about the true crisis our world is in. How will we respond?
John 3, The Message
Born from Above
1-2 There was a man of the Pharisee sect, Nicodemus, a prominent leader among the Jews. Late one night he visited Jesus and said, “Rabbi, we all know you’re a teacher straight from God. No one could do all the God-pointing, God-revealing acts you do if God weren’t in on it.”
3 Jesus said, “You’re absolutely right. Take it from me: Unless a person is born from above, it’s not possible to see what I’m pointing to—to God’s kingdom.”
4 “How can anyone,” said Nicodemus, “be born who has already been born and grown up? You can’t re-enter your mother’s womb and be born again. What are you saying with this ‘born-from-above’ talk?”
5-6 Jesus said, “You’re not listening. Let me say it again. Unless a person submits to this original creation—the ‘wind-hovering-over-the-water’ creation, the invisible moving the visible, a baptism into a new life—it’s not possible to enter God’s kingdom. When you look at a baby, it’s just that: a body you can look at and touch. But the person who takes shape within is formed by something you can’t see and touch—the Spirit—and becomes a living spirit.
7-8 “So don’t be so surprised when I tell you that you have to be ‘born from above’—out of this world, so to speak. You know well enough how the wind blows this way and that. You hear it rustling through the trees, but you have no idea where it comes from or where it’s headed next. That’s the way it is with everyone ‘born from above’ by the wind of God, the Spirit of God.”
9 Nicodemus asked, “What do you mean by this? How does this happen?”
10-12 Jesus said, “You’re a respected teacher of Israel and you don’t know these basics? Listen carefully. I’m speaking sober truth to you. I speak only of what I know by experience; I give witness only to what I have seen with my own eyes. There is nothing secondhand here, no hearsay. Yet instead of facing the evidence and accepting it, you procrastinate with questions. If I tell you things that are plain as the hand before your face and you don’t believe me, what use is there in telling you of things you can’t see, the things of God?
13-15 “No one has ever gone up into the presence of God except the One who came down from that Presence, the Son of Man. In the same way that Moses lifted the serpent in the desert so people could have something to see and then believe, it is necessary for the Son of Man to be lifted up—and everyone who looks up to him, trusting and expectant, will gain a real life, eternal life.
16-18 “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.
19-21 “This is the crisis we’re in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness. They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God. Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won’t come near it, fearing a painful exposure. But anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes God-light so the work can be seen for the God-work it is.”
What do we learn?
–God so loved that He sent us His Son, His One and Only Son, to teach us how to come back to God.
–God so loved that world, all of us, that whoever believes in His Son, can have a whole and everlasting life with Him.
–God so loved the world that He allowed His Son to die a cruel death for our sin so that we who believe can see Him, worship Him freely, and live with Him forever.
–God so loved the world, that He sent His Son to correct all misunderstandings by the religious about his true desire…a right relationship with us.
–God so loved the world, the He sent His Son to show Who He really is and how to give glory where honor and praise is due.
–God so loved the world that He sent His Son so that the work can be seen for the God-work it is.
–Jesus is the Truth, The Way and The Life, in that order. He came to be Truth, show Truth, and live Truth so that we will know. Jesus shows us The Way back to God. Only then can we live the God-Life to the max, abundantly, freely forever.
–Are we listening?
Dear Heavenly Father,
The Story of Jesus explaining salvation to the intellect lifts our hearts, minds and souls to higher ground in our own thinking. We do believe. We are born of Your Spirit. Our bodies are only earthly tents that won’t last but Your Spirit abiding in us will last forever. That truth alone sheds Light on our daily lives and encourages us to live for You, the ONLY life worth living. Thank you for so loving the world. Thank you for loving me.
In Jesus Name, Amen. I believe.