I was reading a passage in John chapter 3, and a phrase in the passage that Iʼve read many times before suddenly caught my attention.
Nicodemus was one of the Pharisees, and as we know, the Pharisees did not accept the message of Jesus Christ or believe Him to be the Messiah. In fact, they rejected His miracles and often claimed that He healed through the power of demons. But the passage tells us that “There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: the same came to Jesus by night…”
The depiction of the hour when Nicodemus came to see Jesus is very telling of the manner in which he came. In hiding. Under the cover of darkness, so, his fellow Pharisees would not see him and believe him to be giving ear to this man, who at the time, they were seeking to kill. But his opening statement to Jesus depicted that very fact. Nicodemus said:
“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.”
This very act and statement of Nicodemus indicated a very important thing: That he was not of the same belief as his fellow Pharisees that this Jesus was a fake. He believed, based on the miracles that He had seen Jesus perform, that He was truly a man of God. But he was struggling. He was struggling against everything he had learned thus far; he was struggling with the thought of how his fellow Pharisees would react if they even knew that he was doing what he was doing; he was struggling against what he had always believed, and how all of that was being brought to question in the light of what he now had before him.
He was struggling to see.
He wanted, just as he was, for Jesus to do something: say something, that would convince him that He was who He said he was.
But Jesusʼ answer to him made one thing very clear. Believing in the Son of God is not a matter of “convincing”. It is not even a physical process. It doesnʼt take place in our minds. Believing doesnʼt even take place in our hearts. It takes place in our spirit.
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 motherʼs womb and be born?” 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, ʻYou must be born again.ʼ 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.” (John 3:5-8)
The phrase that I stated earlier as having caught my attention was what Jesus said in John 3:3: “Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot SEE the kingdom of God.”
Though Nicodemus did not understand what was being said to him, Jesus was simply telling him that as long as the process was taking place in his head; as long as he was looking for a sign: as long as he was looking for Jesus to “convince him”, then he (Nicodemus) would never “see” the truth; the Kingdom of God; that is Jesus the Savior of the world.
Jesus was saying that Nicodemus would need to be born again, that is TRANSFORMED, from a flesh thinker, into a spirit processor. And it would only be then that his eyes would be opened and he would be able to see.
Again, processing Jesusʼ words in his flesh, Nicodemus literally translated “born again” as the physical process of giving birth. So, Jesus went further in verse 5 to state the type of birth to which he was referring. “Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Which is the process of baptism. But what is critical to note here is that Jesus cautioned Nicodemus; even as He cautions you and I today, to not get caught up in the term “Born again”. Jesus cautions us not to believe for one moment that the culmination of the TRANSFORMATION lies solely in tooting the phrase “Iʼm born again”.
In verses 7-8 Jesus says:
“Do not marvel that I said to you, ʻYou must be born again.ʼ 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.”
The TRANSFORMATION is in the receiving of His Spirit of Christ.
We believe that Jesus is because we are transformed by His Spirit. We know in our hearts that Jesus is Lord because we have been transformed by His spirit.
We “see” the Kingdom of God as eternal life in Christ Jesus because we have died from being flesh thinkers, and been born again into being Spirit processors.
It is not a mental process. It does not involve rationale, psychology or even reasoning. It requires one thing and one thing only: Submission!
The Spirit will call. But it is we who have to answer. The Spirit will stir. But it is we who have to yield.
The Spirit will prompt. But it is we who have to submit.
The spirit called, stirred and prompted Nicodemus.
That was why he stole away in the middle of the night to seek Jesus.
That was why in John 7:50-51 he said to his fellow Pharisees: “Nicodemus (he who came to Jesus by night, being one of them) said to them, “Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?”
That was also why after Jesus was crucified, it was he who accompanied Joseph of Arimathea to take His body, embalm it with spices, wrap it in linen and place it in the tomb.
Without the Spirit of Christ living in us, we are condemned to living in the flesh. Running everything that concerns God, Christ and salvation through the filter of our minds, under the guidance of our so called wisdom and intelligence. This life without Christ is living in darkness, and it is this darkness that is the condemnation. We are only freed from this condemnation when we accept Jesus Christ. When we allow His Spirit to reveal Him to us. This is when we come into the light. (John 3:18-21)
It is important to note that this darkness is not accidental. All of the “reasoning & logical explanation” that rise up to to keep minds active and spirits unyielding is Satanʼs way of keeping people in darkness; away from the light. The light of the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Once we yield to Christ, that self that was was in darkness, the flesh thinker dies. The new person, the spirit processor is then born.
Brethren, no one can be convinced to believe that Jesus is Lord, and our mission as messengers of the gospel is not to convince anyone! It is simply to spread the good news of Jesus Christ. It is to share our experience of what the gift of salvation has done to us. How it has changed us. How Jesus has saved us. Jesus did the work of His Father. The 12 disciples did their work according to their individual calling. The women who ministered to Jesus did their work. The apostles did their work. Know your calling. Know your work, and do it. The Spirit of Christ will give everyone a chance to receive Him. They will have seen signs, heard testimony, and received the prompting. It is then up to them; up to you; up to me, to receive Him. and begin to live in Him. So that we can “see” the Kingdom of God, and in so doing, “enter in”.
Now unto him that is able to keep us from falling, and to present us faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy. To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.
Share your thoughts, that you might encourage your brethren.
The handmaid at His feet.