SATURDAY, JUNE 22
Scripture: John 3:1-16
In John 3:1-4, we read of someone who is not on the bottom of society, “There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, ‘Rabbi, 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.’” Nicodemus knew enough of God’s Word to discern that Jesus was anointed by God. “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ Nicodemus said to Him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?’” When Jesus was dealing with the bottom of society, He went straight to acceptance. But when he was dealing with the privileged and powerful of society, He didn’t default to acceptance but instead challenged them as with Nicodemus. Jesus knew the wealthy often have additional barriers to break through – wealth, power, intellect and arrogance. He had to create a moment when Nicodemus was willing to humble himself before he could grasp the truth. Verses 5-16 state, “Jesus answered, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.’ Nicodemus answered and said to Him, ‘How can these things be?’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things? Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. And 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. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.’” The primary salvation verse in the whole Bible and the judgment that went with it was inspired by one of the leading teachers of Israel in Jesus’ day, and his name was Nicodemus. God was ready to accept Nicodemus, but Nicodemus had to get through his pride and his religious spirit. It was much more difficult for God to accept Nicodemus than it was to accept all the other people we have looked at. In every single one of their cases, they knew they were needy and in trouble. They knew their condition and had the humility that invited salvation. Nicodemus’ problem was he lacked that humility. He was brimming with pride, power and influence. His religious façade had to be broken in order for him to be saved.