Start with Posture of Silence and Solitude (2 minutes)
Read Scripture: John 3:1-21
Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. 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.”
Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”
“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”
Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.
“You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? Very truly I tell you, 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 wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
Nicodemus, an educated, religious leader of the Jews, has seen and heard of Jesus’ activities and sought a private audience with him. He believes that Jesus is from God, and Jesus engages with him in deep conversation about how a person can be born again of water and of Spirit. Nicodemus is confused, and as Jesus explains, we hear astounding news: God loves the whole world (everyone—not just the Jews) so much that He has sent his only Son (Jesus) to save them (not condemn them). Every person who believes in Jesus will have eternal life with God. But Jesus’ presence also demands a response — or elicits a reaction — from every person. Those who believe and live in his light will be saved, but anyone who does not believe is condemned.
Question to Ponder:
What is your response — or your first reaction — to the good news that Jesus came to save you (and not condemn you)?
Dear God, thank you for loving me and sending Jesus to save me, to save everyone. I am so grateful for your rescue because though I often live so selfishly, that is not who I want to be. Please help me to believe in you, trust in you, hope in you, and live your way, in your light. And please help me to share this good news and hope with the people around me. Thank you, God. In Jesus’ name, amen.
End with Posture of Silence and Solitude (2 minutes)