We have a short show today. Keith is joined by the Retrobots to introduce the topic. When Nathan is patched in to the studio, we get started with a review of our presentation of last week’s show.
The old radio story of Nicodemus was just that, a story of what his life might have been like. Though his life crossed paths with Jesus, the Master, his teaching on being born again seemed to be misunderstood by Nicodemus. We clarify that Jesus taught of spiritual things, not physical things that people might do. Being born again is more than our own effort to be righteous, it’s a work that only the Holy Sprit can do,. It’s ultimately about salvation, and comes at the price of Jesus on the cross.
Calling on Retrobots to read from the English Standard Version, we go over what Jesus actually taught Nicodemus on that night.
We explore who exactly Nicodemus is, and what is known about him for sure in this passage.
- He is a pharisee, a ruler.
- He is the teacher of Israel. (Jesus in 3:10)
- He came to Jesus at night.
- He said,
- “We know you are a teacher.
- No one can do these signs, unless from God.
- Unless you’re born again, you can’t be in God’s kingdom.
- Born of water, and spirit.
- Flesh is flesh, and spirit is spirit.
- He compares wind to spiritual matters.
- We speak of what we see and know, but you don’t listen.
- If physical things are out of your grasp, you’ll never get the spiritual.
You Must Be Born Again
1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, 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.”
3 Jesus answered him,
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
4 Nicodemus said to him,
“How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”
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.
7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’
8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, 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 the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things?
11 Truly, truly, I say to you,
we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony.
12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things?
- What did Nicodemus meet with Jesus for?
- What did he intend by stating the use of signs from God, and Jesus as teacher?
- Why did Jesus change the topic from physical signs, to being born again?
Faith in His Death
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.
Nathan points out some important items in the illustration of the bronze serpent.
- He has to be lifted up, like the bronze serpent.
- We don’t choose to be born either physically, or spiritually. An outside power is required.
- What is Jesus saying about himsself?
For God So Loved the World
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.
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.
Activities in the gift of salvation, the result of being born again.
- God loved, and gave.
- Believers receive benefits. They won’t die, but live eternally.
- God’s son doesn’t condemn, but save.
The Condemnation for Unbelief
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.”
Evidence of spiritual truth, when it shines.
- Condemnation Is the natural destination.
- Believers not condemned, but unbelievers remain condemned.
- The light has come, but people loved the darkness more.
- Evildoers hate the light, and coming to it exposes their deeds.
- Those who do right, comes to the light, and deeds clearly seen.
- Sin price paid by Jesus on the cross.
- what are the two types of people?
- Why do evil people hate the light?
- What does the light do?
Since the call with Nathan is cut short, we wrap up with a few closing thoughts.