Wednesday, February 1, 2012

John 3:9-15

Before looking at the next verses in John 3, I just wanted to ask you to pray for two little ones. My sweet friend, Erin, who has been having early contractions with her first baby (due date in March), is still holding onto that baby! However, they just learned that, in addition to the heart valve problem which will require surgery after birth, there is now a cyst showing on the brain. Please pray that God, in His mercy, will heal these problems before this little one is born! And pray for Erin and her husband, Danny, as they await the birth, that they will know God’s peace as they trust in His loving kindness and His sovereignty.

Then, Molly’s dear friend, Joyce, and her family need our prayers. Their toddler daughter, Bridget had cataract surgery a few months ago, and now they have found that the capsule that holds the lens in place (which cannot be replaced) is opaque. They are planning to remove it next Tuesday, hoping that there is enough scar tissue from the cataract surgery to hold the lens in once the capsule is removed. This is a very scary time for them. Please pray that God’s hand will be on the surgeon’s hand. Actually, because nothing is impossible for God, let’s pray that God will miraculously heal Bridget’s eye! So many needs... Such a BIG God!

As I was thinking about God’s power to not only create the universe from nothing, but to also knit together a heart valve, make a cyst disappear, and repair a lens capsule, I was reminded of the amazing miracle God does to regenerate our souls! And that’s what Jesus tries to get across to Nicodemus in today’s lesson.

Nicodemus had started with the acknowledgement that the miracles that he had witnessed Jesus performing were surely from God, but Jesus led him into a personal discussion about Nicodemus’s need for his own miracle: the need to be born again by the Spirit of God.

“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.

“You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. (John 3:9-15)

Here Nicodemus was - this well-respected Jewish leader, a leader among leaders, and a scholarly teacher of religion - and yet he did not understand what Jesus was speaking of when He said Nicodemus needed to be completely regenerated. What Nicodemus needed was a heart transplant! He had seen the miracles of Jesus and had heard His teaching but could not grasp why Jesus had come: Jesus must be lifted up on a cross to die for our sins, so eternal life might be given to everyone who believes in him.

No matter how smart we think we are, no matter how many letters follow our names to show the extent of our education, there is nothing more important to understand than our need for a Savior. This is a message not just for the PhD, but for the woman out in the fields in Africa, for those in the ghettos of India, as well as for the 1% on Wall Street! We are sinners in need of a Savior. Nicodemus needed a Savior and so do we! Tomorrow we’ll look at one of the best-known verses in Scripture, as well as the one that follows it that is not so well-known, that speak to this need. In the meantime, please keep praying!


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