I, like many have heard or read the John 3 exchange between Jesus and Nicodemus. I have read this story countless times and have never seen the passage as I do now.
There have been many salvation messages preached out of this text. And rightfully so, however, there is so much more to this story that I have never seen or heard. You probably got this a long time ago, but for me I was so elated with emotion that I could not wait to fully develop this into a blog and hopefully a sermon.
Before we dive in, let me pose a question: How many times was the terminology “born again” used in scripture?
The answer? Only 3 times. 2 of those times are in the same conversation with Nicodemus. The other is found in 1 Peter 1:23.
Have you ever wondered why Jesus would use the words “born again”on a teacher of the law as opposed to a sinner? Why not the woman caught in adultery in John 8, or with Zacchaeus the unfair tax collector or even the woman at the well just one chapter later in John 4?
Jesus didn’t even use this terminology with His disciples? Why would Jesus choose a Pharisee who knew the Old Testament scripture and served God faithfully? Why a hard-nosed, teacher of the law?
In verse 10 of John 3, Jesus said, “You are Israel’s teacher, and do you not understand these things?”
This is the key question that I believe will lead us to a neat truth in this particular text.
Jesus chose to share this life changing truth with Nicodemus because He of course wanted Nicodemus to know a better or another way. What’s more, Jesus wanted us to know that there is something about teachers/preachers that Jesus wants to make new.
Let me back up for a moment and say this: I am not suggesting that salvation is not for everyone or just for those who teach and preach. Of course it is for the whole world. I am not saying that being born again and being saved are two different things as I know they are the same. But it is unique that Jesus only used this term one time in His ministry.
I do feel that there is a truth that Jesus was giving us in this passage that is life altering for those of us who are teachers of scripture.
As leaders, pastors, teachers, or whomever, we are teachers of the scripture just like Nicodemus. Yes, there is a major covenant difference. But just like Nicodemus, we too can become so stuck on our version or viewpoint of the message of the Bible that Jesus has to meet us in the darkness of our minds and teach us how to be born again…again as leaders.
“Nicodemus”, Jesus says, “You must be born first of water and then of the Spirit”.
Nicodemus replies with a crazy response, “How can a man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?”
Nicodemus, a man of the letter/law wanted Jesus to give him a very orderly, mapped out, and a to-the-point process. Jesus responds in his creative way and says, No Nicodemus, its like the wind. You don’t know where it comes from and you don’t know where it goes.
Jesus instantly tears down the system in which Nicodemus would try to limit Jesus’ salvific power.
Later on in the scriptures we see Nicodemus appear again in a unique fashion. Let’s read it. John 19:39 - After the death of Jesus we read: ”He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds.”
He seeks Jesus in private, but ends up loving him publicly.
This Jewish/Pharisee leader confesses the Lord Jesus publicly by his gift at the burial of Jesus. He was a teacher of the scripture, who was finally born again.
I too am Nicodemus who must have my state of Biblical living challenged by Jesus and His “wind-like ways”. You?
What are the ways in which you have been challenged in your thinking as a teacher/leader in the last 6 months?
Subscribe to the blog feed.