Ask Jesus Your Question
MARCH 4, 2021
Nicodemus was an educated man who held incredible power in his religious community.
His knowledge of the Scriptures surpassed everyone around him and he would’ve been considered a model citizen in every way. Yet, there was Somebody Else on the scene. Somebody Else was turning heads because he was turning water to wine. The Apostle John tells us Nicodemus “came to Jesus at night.“ We don’t know why he preferred to talk with Jesus in the dark any more than we recognize the face of the man in the moon. But that’s just what he did. Perhaps he didn’t want his religious friends catching him talking to the odd Rabbi from a backwater town? Or maybe Nicodemus wanted an uninterrupted conversation and so he had to wait his turn like everybody else. Or maybe he felt like he could only be his real self and ask real questions of Jesus when nobody else was looking. Have you, like Nicodemus, ever gone to Jesus in the middle of the night and asked your question?
Not to church…
Not a book study…
Not a conference…
Not a worship song…
Have you ever gone straight to Jesus in the middle of the night?
Though Nicodemus was steeped in the history of Israel he was still keenly aware of the fact that he could no more comprehend the mysteries of God than you or I could contain the Pacific ocean in a Dixie Cup. So in his curiosity, he pulled himself out of bed and went to Jesus.
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.” – John 3:2
I imagine if you or I had an audience with Jesus that night we would’ve said something along these lines, too. “It’s clear that the signs you are doing must be accompanied by God himself!” But Jesus who knows Nicodemus’s whole life story and your life story, abruptly responds piercing through to the question behind the question. Jesus knew that what Nicodemus was really asking was “Will I get to see the kingdom of Heaven, too?”
Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” – John 3:3
“Ye must be born again.” Those two words; born again. They either mean everything or they mean nothing to someone. We see them on a homemade sign in the end zone of a football game. Sometimes they’re slapped up on an overpass amidst all the graffiti. Sometimes they’re on the moniker of a Missionary Baptist Church out in the countryside somewhere. Born again. When Jesus said the words “born again” he wasn’t coming up with another way to say “evangelical.” He was putting a carrot in the hunting rifle.
Nicodemus doesn’t get it and asks how a person can be born twice. Do you ever have those moments when you’re talking and as you’re saying the words, you wish you could reach out and grab them and take them back? I imagine that must’ve been what Nicodemus was thinking in this moment. “I just asked how to be born two times!” There they are, the words are out there, naked, half-baked, standing there like a scarecrow. Jesus explains that there is the kind of birth that every mother does. And that there is another birth that is brought about purely by the work of God alone.
You see, in saying “you must be born again,” Jesus was taking all of the worry, the power, and the striving out of Nicodemus’ hands, saying “You don’t have what it takes to be born again in and of yourself.” Just as your mother labored to bring you into the world at zero cost to you and incredible cost to her, so it is with God. You are the passive recipient of Divine Grace. God is the One who brings about your birth from above. One moment you were not and the next you simply were. Why? Because God reached out, and reached within, and gave you a new heart, a new mind, a new life, a new purpose… a new you. What motivated God to do something so extravagant, so over the top, so undeserved for Nicodemus or you or me or anyone else in this world?
Jesus said, “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever would believe in him would not perish but have eternal life.” It was out of the blazing furnace of the love of God’s heart that you have been born again and once you are born, you cannot be unborn. This is what the Apostle Paul stressed more than anything to his Ephesian brothers and sisters – the incomprehensible love of Christ. You belong to the Father, through the purchase of the Son, and the filling of the Holy Spirit. Amen.