John 3:1-12

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“The Night Visitor and the Kingdom of Light”

   

Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. 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, “Truly, truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” 4 “How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Can he enter his mother’s womb a second time to be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh is born of flesh, but spirit is born of the Spirit. 7 Do not be amazed that I said, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes. You hear its sound, but you do not know 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 you do not understand these things? 11 Truly, truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, and yet you people do not accept our testimony. 12 If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things?


The gospel of John has been rightly called a book of encounters. In chapter 3, we witness one of the most compelling of these interactions: Nicodemus and Jesus. As night surrounds them, Nicodemus sneaks away from the eye of public scrutiny to meet with Jesus. The irony is palpable: a man of high religious standing comes to Jesus under the veil of darkness, but Jesus offers him light.


The term "born again" stands at the core of their discussion. Jesus tells Nicodemus that to see the kingdom of God, one must be born again. "How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asks, perplexed.


His question reflects our own confusions and limitations. We are beings shackled to the material world, yet Jesus ushers us into a different realm: a kingdom not of flesh and bone, but of Spirit and light.


Christ introduces a contrasting paradigm between what is "born of the flesh" and what is "born of the Spirit." The kingdom of God isn't a place we can access through human heritage, achievement, or wisdom. It's a domain we enter through spiritual rebirth, an act of God where the Holy Spirit ignites a new life within us.


Jesus chides Nicodemus: "You are Israel's teacher, and do you not understand these things?" The one who teaches others about God fails to grasp the heart of God's kingdom. It's a caution for us, reminding us that knowledge of God isn't merely an intellectual endeavor but a spiritual transformation that reorients our entire being.


While Nicodemus may have come seeking signs and wisdom, Jesus points him—and us—towards something far greater: a life reborn in the Spirit, a life that truly sees and enters the kingdom of God. Christ focuses the conversation, as He always does, on the crucial, on the eternal. He invites us to look beyond our earthly parameters to grasp the heavenly realities that can only be understood through spiritual rebirth.


In this passage, Jesus is not just giving theological instruction; He is extending a spiritual invitation. As the wind blows unpredictably, so does the Spirit move in our lives, drawing us nearer to the heart of God. It is Christ who offers this new birth, and it is Christ who personifies the kingdom we so desperately need to see and enter.


Given his background, Nicodemus should have recognized that the concept of a spiritual rebirth or transformation was not foreign to the Jewish scriptures. The necessity of a heart changed by God's action, rather than human effort, is a recurring theme throughout the Old Testament. Here are two examples.


Ezekiel 36:26-27

"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules."


This passage clearly speaks to the transformative work of God in the hearts of His people, emphasizing the role of the Spirit in causing them to walk in God's ways.


Jeremiah 31:31-34

"Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers [...] I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts."


In this passage, God promises a new covenant, distinct from the Mosaic Covenant. This new covenant would involve a transformation of the heart and a new internalization of God's law.


As you ponder what we have shared, may you recognize that the Kingdom of God is not an intellectual puzzle to be solved but a spiritual reality to be lived, one that starts with a new birth—a birth from above.


Let the gravity of Jesus' words draw you into reflection today. Redirect your focus from the earthly to the eternal, from darkness to His marvelous light.


Let’s conclude with a prayer.

Father, grant us the humility to recognize our need for rebirth, and the faith to trust in your Spirit for the miraculous transformation that aligns us with your eternal Kingdom. Lord Jesus, you alone can save, even me. Amen.