I hope that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! A time to remember not only things to be thankful for now but for all the things that God has done for us. I do not understand how people can celebrate “Thanksgiving” and never think about God and what He has done for all of us. Without Him, we would be nothing.
In John 3, we find a man named Nicodemus who was a ruler of the Jews. This meant that he was most likely a member of the Sanhedrin and a student of the law. He’s familiar with what Jesus has been teaching and doing as he confesses to Christ “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.” It’s then that Jesus says to him “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus of course struggles with this, and Jesus teaches him that one must be born of water and the spirit and because of Nicodemus’s struggle with this Jesus gently rebukes him because Nicodemus should be someone who should see the connection. Many ask today, “Is baptism a part of this discussion?” There’s no doubt it is as Jesus references being born of water and the spirit. But I also believe that Nicodemus is struggling with what the kingdom of God is and who it’s for.
We readily know from scripture that a major hang-up for the Jews, not only while Christ was here but even for many after the establishment of the church, was the kingdom of God being a spiritual kingdom and not a physical one. Jesus is teaching Nicodemus about what it takes to enter the kingdom of God in contrast to Nicodemus’s perspective that only those who are born in the lineage of Abraham are kingdom citizens. Jesus continues to teach Nicodemus when he explains to him that kingdom citizenship is for all who believe in Him and who come to the light.
Many people today think only in physical terms and speak of that “kingdom” as though it was a future physical kingdom, but Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). Neither is the new birth a physical birth (John 3:4), for it has to do with one being “born…of the Spirit” (John 3:5, 6). So, Jesus explained to Nicodemus the spiritual nature of the new birth, which grants one the power to see and to enter the spiritual kingdom of God (John 3:7-8).
The water of which one is born in the new birth is the water necessary to be baptized. Jesus commanded the apostles to baptize those who believe. I hope we can take away from this passage that the kingdom of God is for everyone. Like Nicodemus, we sometimes struggle with that. Some often approach evangelism with the mindset that the gospel is only for certain types of people. We’ve been called to sow the seed of the Gospel and God will give the increase. Yes, one must die, be buried, and be born again to put on Christ (Romans 6, Galatians 3) but it must be based upon a true belief and faith in Jesus Christ as the Light of the world. What do we gain by entering the Kingdom of God? Jesus went on to say, “as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so, must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:15). He has promised us eternal life!Download PDF