“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 Believing in Jesus means not trusting in yourself or your own attempts at pleasing God. There is a transfer of trust away from yourself...
“No one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” John 3:3 (NIV)
Jesus essentially says to Nicodemus: “You have come to me because you think I might be able to add something to your successful life. But I am telling you that your whole life needs to be made again, begun again, lived again. You must be born again.”
Some of us are like Nicodemus. We have a good education, solid achievements, healthy relationships, a strong work ethic, a good reputation, and we want to reach higher. So if someone says, “There’s a God-shaped hole in your life and Jesus Christ can fill it,” this makes sense to us.
A message that says, “We need Christ to make us complete,” appeals to our pride. But Jesus does not say, “You’re doing great, and there’s something missing I can give you.” He says, “Your whole life needs to be remade. You must be born again. AND, unless this happens, you cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus, you came to me thinking you are close to God’s kingdom. I’m telling you that you’re nowhere near!” That’s devastating.
Don’t miss the stunning fact that Jesus says this to Nicodemus. No one would be surprised if Jesus said this to the thief on the cross—a criminal who had wasted his life, or to the prostitutes or the tax collectors—who were notorious for extorting money.
But Jesus says this to Nicodemus—man at his best, most ethical, most successful, and most educated. Jesus says this to trusted, respected, successful, moral, family men and women like us. “You must be born again. And unless you are you cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Are you on the same page as Jesus? Will you agree with him today that the change that needs to happen in your life is more radical than you thought?