What Jesus Did! 'A Good Place to Start' — John 3:1-2

Sunday, February 9, 2014

There was a man named Nicodemus. Nicodemus was one of the Pharisees. He was an important Jewish leader. One night Nicodemus came to Jesus. Nicodemus said, "Teacher, we know that you are a teacher sent from God. No person can do these miracles that you do without God's help."
— John 3:1-2
Illustration of John 3:1-2 — "Teacher, we know that you are a teacher sent from God. No person can do these miracles that you do without God's help."

Key Thought

Some give Nicodemus a hard time for coming to Jesus at night. However, John doesn't. In fact, if we listen carefully to this story, Nicodemus does exactly what Jesus says people "who do what is right" will do—they come out of the darkness to the light to have their deeds revealed. Nicodemus makes a good start. He recognizes that what Jesus does shows he comes from God. That's a good beginning. In fact, there are a lot of people who think Jesus is a good person, a good teacher, a good prophet that has come from God. For most of them, that is enough. Good intentions, good thinking. But like Nicodemus—and the rest of Jesus' disciples—this is not enough. Jesus will challenge Nicodemus to see things in a whole new light. He will do very much the same for those of us who want to keep Jesus tame and nice. Jesus is about to remind us that he is our Lord and we begin fresh, or we stay in darkness. Are you ready for the journey? Are you ready to join Nicodemus?

Today's Prayer

Father, I confess that there are times when I want to tame Jesus and take some of the radical call of his Gospel out of my path. Yet I recognize that grace was costly to you and should not be trivialized by me. With all that I have, I surrender my heart to Jesus as Lord. Use your Spirit, O God, to open my heart to fully follow Jesus and powerfully live as a witness to your transformational grace. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Today's Verses in Context

There was a man named Nicodemus. Nicodemus was one of the Pharisees. He was an important Jewish leader. One night Nicodemus came to Jesus. Nicodemus said, "Teacher, we know that you are a teacher sent from God. No person can do these miracles that you do without God's help." Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth. A person must be born again. If a person is not born again, then that person cannot be in God's kingdom." Nicodemus said, "But if a person is already old, how can he be born again? A person cannot enter his mother's body again! So a person cannot be born a second time!" But Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth. A person must be born from water and the Spirit. If a person is not born from water and the Spirit, then he cannot enter God's kingdom. A person's body is born from his human parents. But a person's spiritual life is born from the Spirit. Don't be surprised that I told you, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows where it wants to go. You hear the wind blow. But you don't know where the wind comes from or where the wind is going. It is the same with every person that is born from the Spirit." Nicodemus asked, "How can all this be possible?" Jesus said, "You are an important teacher of Israel (the Jews). But you still don't understand these things? I tell you the truth. We talk about what we know. We tell about what we have seen. But you people don't accept what we tell you. I have told you about things here on earth. But you do not believe me. So surely you will not believe me if I tell you about the things of heaven! The only one that has ever gone up to heaven is the One that came down from heaven—the Son of Man. Moses lifted up the snake in the desert. It is the same with the Son of Man. The Son of Man must be lifted up too. Then every person that believes in the Son of Man can have life forever. Yes, God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son. God gave his Son so that every person that believes in him would not be lost, but have life forever. God sent his Son into the world. God did not send his Son to judge the world guilty. God sent his Son so that the world could be saved through his Son. The person that believes in God's Son is not judged (condemned). But the person that does not believe is already judged. Why? Because that person has not believed in God's only Son. People are judged by this fact: The Light (goodness) has come into the world. But people did not want light. They wanted darkness (sin). Why? Because they were doing evil things. Every person that does evil hates the light. That person will not come to the light. Why? Because then the light will show all the bad things he has done. But the person that follows the true way comes to the light. Then the light will show that the things that person has done were done through God."

John 3:1-21

Related Scripture Readings

Jesus continued to say to all of them, "If any person wants to follow me, he must say 'No' to the things he wants. That person must accept the cross (suffering) that is given to him every day, and he must follow me. The person that wants to save his life will lose it. And every person that gives his life for me will save it.

Luke 9:23-24

"Not every person that says that I am his Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven. The only people that will enter the kingdom of heaven are those people that do the things that my Father in heaven wants. On the last day many people will say to me, 'You are our Lord! We spoke for you. And for you we forced out demons and did many miracles. ' Then I will tell those people clearly, 'Go away from me, you people that do wrong. I never knew you.'

Matthew 7:21-23

God sent his Son into the world. God did not send his Son to judge the world guilty. God sent his Son so that the world could be saved through his Son. The person that believes in God's Son is not judged (condemned). But the person that does not believe is already judged. Why? Because that person has not believed in God's only Son. People are judged by this fact: The Light (goodness) has come into the world. But people did not want light. They wanted darkness (sin). Why? Because they were doing evil things. Every person that does evil hates the light. That person will not come to the light. Why? Because then the light will show all the bad things he has done. But the person that follows the true way comes to the light. Then the light will show that the things that person has done were done through God. After this, Jesus and his followers went into the area of Judea. There Jesus stayed with his followers and baptized people.

John 3:17-22

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About This Devotional

What Jesus Did is a one-year devotional guide through the gospels, using one short passage each day and following the Gospel in consecutive order. Each devotional consists of a passage, reflection and a prayer which opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.

Easy-to-Read Version copyright © 2001 by World Bible Translation Center. All rights reserved.