Nicodemus came to Jesus “by night”. “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it.” (John 1:5) Nicodemus’ name means “conqueror”! When shall we learn that the very thing we attempt to conquer is what we become? Why does the “conqueror” come to Jesus? What does Jesus come to offer? To often we are trapped in the “darkness” of our Selfish-way. Let us deny ourselves the temptation to answer the first question to focus on what Jesus comes to offer.
John 3: 17: Jesus’s Way is not to condemn but to save.
John 14:12: Jesus’ Truth is that the Believer will do the same things he has done, and even greater things.
John 20: 21: Jesus offers us Life! Filled with the Holy Spirit we are sent just as the Father sent Jesus.
How is this possible? How can we be sent by God to do the same things Jesus did while on earth? Jesus gives a simple answer. You must be born from above! He goes on to explain that we must be born of water and Spirit.
Surely you remember that Jesus transformed “water” into wine! John 2: 1-11The water He transformed into wine had little in common with Aquafina bottled water! A few sips of the water Jesus transformed into wine would certainly give the wedding party Montezuma’s Revenge.
The “truth” of the story of transforming water into wine has little to do with water quality or the evil of consuming alcohol. The story functions to fulfill the Law given through Moses with the Grace and Truth of Jesus Christ. (John 1:17)
The ritual of washing hands and feet with water is prescribed by the Law in Leviticus 15:11. Until the destruction of the Temple only the Priest washed hands and feet. Note that failure to do so meant certain death. The ritual was then moved to the home and especially at the table. See the following link for a brief explanation. http://judaism.about.com/od/glossary/fl/Jewish-Hand-Washing-Rituals.htm
John the Baptist used water as a symbol of repentance! At the time this practice was radical. Any follower of the Way of the Law knew that repentance from sin required the sacrifice of a sheep, goat, or dove. (Read the story of Jesus cleaning the temple! John 2: 13-25) Again John’s Baptism is a “sign” of the Law that was given through Moses being transformed into the Grace and Truth given through Jesus Christ.
I would be remiss not to mention the water of the mother’s womb. We were each nurtured and protected by the amniotic- fluid of our mother’s womb. God is in the business of “delivering” His children. Is it any wonder that we refer to child birth as “delivery”? We enter the world by being delivered by the water of our mother’s womb. Noah was delivered from death by the Flood Waters. The Israelites were delivered from the Egyptians by the water of the Red Sea. The House of Israel was delivered from the Wilderness of Sin through the water of the Jordan. Jesus’ baptism by John is a sign that the Law that was given through Moses is being transformed into the Grace and Truth of Jesus Christ. (It is interesting to note that John does NOT record that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. Further, Jesus never institutes Holy Communion in John’s Gospel.)
Spirit: The Truth
We tend to determine the truth by virtue of something like the following process:
- Knowing information is powerful.
- Understanding the information is even more powerful.
- Application of what is understood is an even greater step to discerning truth.
- Integration of above three steps into the your total knowledge and experience yields the next step.
Jesus says, “If I have told you about earthly things and do not believe, how can I tell you about heavenly things…” such as being born from above by the Spirit? Clearly, being “born from above” transforms the believer into a person who thinks, feels, and acts in a new way.
Fast forward to John 14:26; “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.”
Do you BELIEVE that God will teach you everything? Do you recognize the difference between God’s voice, your voice, the voice of the world, the voice of Satan, and the voice of the Law.
Look at Jesus’ Way in John 3: 17. God’s voice will not condemn you. God’s voice will deliver you from condemnation and be with you through suffering. I invite you to think about your favorite sport, hobby, or even your job. How much time have you invested in the above process. How much time has it taken for you to gain “earthly” wisdom?
Are you willing to give God equal time and attention? I doubt you would be reading this if you were not born from above. Now, are you willing to Follow Jesus to Offer Jesus so that you may grow up, and mature in the Wisdom of God’s Kingdom?