“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (NLT)
“When I came with open hands and an open heart to see if God could actually speak for Himself, I realized how much baggage I had heaped upon the Bible and how much hearsay I had believed about God.” Brian Hardin, Reframe
- Today, as we prepare for Resurrection Sunday, let’s dive into the deep questions of life and eternity. Whether your faith is secure or needing encouragement, read the entirety of John chapter 3 and we’ll study together. Take notes or highlight any part that sticks out to you.
The Beginning of a New Story
As a young child, life is an endless novel full of hope with pages yet to be turned. With age comes the understanding that this book is a fast read. Even if it’s a very long story, every book has a last page.
On one thing we can all agree; earthly death is certain. What then? John chapter 3 speaks candidly on the subject of death and what happens after we close the book of our earthly existence. John juxtaposes these spiritual basics: faith in Jesus leads to eternal life and rejecting Jesus leads to eternal death. If this doesn’t line up with your beliefs, you may find a key to what’s missing ahead.
Nicodemus lived his life as a devout religious Pharisee, but felt a pull to something more. Under the cover of night (not to be found out by his community), he went to visit Jesus. He couldn’t help but notice there was something different about Him. As a Jew, he understood that if Jesus was performing miracles, He must have been a teacher from God.
The part Nicodemus could not wrap his mind around was that Jesus is God; fully God, fully man. Paul explains the deity of Jesus in Philippians:
Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. (Philippians 2:6-8 NLT)
The Jews had watched and waited for centuries for their Savior. And yet, the Jewish nation rejected their prophesied Savior, Yeshua, even as He lived and proclaimed His divinity right before their very eyes. Jesus looked different from what they expected. God coming to earth in the form of man offended their preconceived notions and just didn’t make sense. As Nicodemus conversed with Jesus, he tried to reconcile what was taught in His Jewish culture with the words of Jesus.
This is what many of us do. We come to God with so many questions and wrong beliefs, then walk away dissatisfied because we cannot make sense out of everything with our own human logic. With our inability to comprehend the deity of Jesus, the Holy Trinity, why God allows suffering, or any other reality we find hard to believe, we dismiss faith or put it off until we can “figure it out” on our own. These words spoken to Nicodemus changed everything for him: “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God” (John 3:3).
Wait, what? Did you catch that? Jesus says we cannot truly see or comprehend spiritual things unless we have accepted Christ and have been “born again” through the Spirit of God. Nicodemus tried to reason how this is possible using his human understanding. Jesus told him, “I assure you, we tell you what we know and have seen, and yet you won’t believe our testimony. But if you don’t believe me when I tell you about earthly things, how can you possibly believe if I tell you about heavenly things” (John 3:11-12 NLT)?
How about you: have you seen evidence of God working on earth? Have you heard testimonies of lives changed by knowing Jesus? Are you paying attention to biblical accounts? Have you looked around to see the undeniable, plain work of the Creator’s hands? With all this evidence, does your mind still doubt? Just as we cannot see earthly things before we are born, we cannot see spiritual things until we are born in the Spirit. Come to Jesus with your questions. After all, He is “the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2).
Allow Jesus to meet you where you are as you follow Him each day of your life. As the creator of the universe, He has all the answers. You need never stop researching, asking, or realizing; you just get to do it with new eyes. The Bible tells us, if we need wisdom, all we need to do is ask God with faith in Him. Not only will He give us wisdom, he will not find fault for our asking.
If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do. (James 1:5-8 NLT)
John the Baptist sums up John chapter 3 so beautifully:
The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. Whoever has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them. (John 3:31-36)
When your faith is in Jesus, the last page of your book is really the beginning of a new story! Come to Jesus! He is waiting with open arms.
Blessings and Love,
Questions to Ponder
- Who is Jesus to you?
- Do you know if you will be spending eternity in Heaven or Hell?
- With whom is God prompting you to share this message?
Tell Jesus you are ready to put your faith in Him if you haven’t already. Find a church to attend that lines up with the Word of God. Share your decision to follow Jesus with another mature Christian and tell someone at the Help Club for Moms!
Share your testimony with your children. Ask them if they have put their faith in Jesus. If so, help them prepare their own testimony to share.
When teaching or discussing theology with your children, show them throughout the Bible God’s plan to save sinners. Emphasize God’s great love for them and His desire to have a relationship with them.