Don't Miss Out | Wayne Massey
Jesus teaches Nicodemus
1 Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said, ‘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.’
3 Jesus replied, ‘Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.’
4 ‘How can someone be born when they are old?’ Nicodemus asked. ‘Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!’
5 Jesus answered, ‘Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, “You must be born again.” 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.’
9 ‘How can this be?’ Nicodemus asked.
10 ‘You are Israel’s teacher,’ said Jesus, ‘and do you not understand these things? 11 Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven – the Son of Man. 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.’
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
Don’t Miss Out
Nicodemus was an important man: a Pharisee and a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus to find out more about him because Jesus seemed to be somewhere that Nicodemus didn’t recognise. Was he missing out on something important.
He asked him questions, trying to understand this new way of looking at life. Too many of us don’t ask those important questions, because life is so full and basically feels OK. But are we missing out on something essential?
The Good News is that God wants everyone to see how things could be, and he has chosen the Church here and all over the world to be the way this can happen. Nicodemus could go straight to Jesus to see God’s love and holiness in action. Who can people go to today? – it should be to any one of us who are his followers. ‘We are a city on a hill’ the song says, and ‘Jesus living in us can change the world’.
The most convincing evidence of Jesus’ resurrection is a group of people living a radically different life. The Church is not a tennis club for the religious - it’s a family for the transformed!
What might this look like? At work people might notice how you respond to bad news. At the school gate they might wonder at the particular way you cope with the demands of little people. Maybe you are having to handle some hard knocks from life and you are coming through them. Perhaps small miracles seem to occur around you. You are learning how to make wise choices for Jesus, just knowing how best to respond in a given situation. And that is happening because you are praying a lot.
Jesus tells Nicodemus he must be born again: only when he has been changed into God’s child would he see God’s kingdom, because then he would be part of the family. This was so difficult for Nicodemus to grasp. He came from a very self-assured culture. Our culture is just as self-assured, and so many of us think we can work things out for ourselves, and bring God in as an extra. But that just means we miss out on what God offers, and that attitude is a danger for the Church.
God offers us lives empowered by the Holy Spirit, not just an add-on to our lives nor just a ticket to eternity. This is for now. He calls us to leave our powerboat with its outboard engine that we start up and then head straight for where we’re planning to go. He calls us to get in the sailing boat and let the wind take us wherever it wants. Whose power is setting the direction for your life? What are you missing out on that God has for you?
Jesus doesn’t want anyone to miss out. He came, the light of the world, saving all who believe, through his death on the Cross. He says look to me, the light in the darkness, and be set free.