John 3 [Clear Word]
15B. CORE COMPETENCIES
1 There was a leader among the Jews named Nicodemus who was ahighly respected Pharisee. 2 He wanted to see Jesus, so he made it a point to see Him at night. Nicodemus said, "Teacher, we know that God has sent you because no one can work miracles like you do unless God is with him." 3 Jesus answered, "Miracles alone are not enough evidence that the kingdom of God is here. Unless a person is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." 4 Nicodemus asked, "But how can a man enter into his mother's womb a second time and be born again? How can a man who is already old start life all over again? That's impossible." 5 Jesus answered, "You're right. But I'm not speaking of physical birth. I'm speaking of spiritual birth. Unless a man's spiritual nature is born again through the Holy Spirit and he is willing to be baptized, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is physical is one thing, and that which is spiritual is another. 7 So don't be shocked when I tell you that you must be reborn before you can enter God's kingdom. 8 How this happens is beyond logic or ritual. It's an experience you can't explain, like the wind blowing the trees. You can see the effects of it, but you can't see the wind itself, nor do you know its origin. That's how it is with the person who is born spiritually; he can't point to something people can see and say, 'This is what caused me to be different.'" 9 Nicodemus sat there stunned. He questioned, "How can such a thing be?" 10 Jesus said to him, "You're one of the leading minds in Israel, and you don't know what I'm talking about? 11 I'm telling you what I know and what I've seen happen in the lives of others, and you still hesitate to believe me. 12 Now if I'm explaining it to you with illustrations you're familiar with, like the effects of the wind, and you still can't understand it, how could you possibly understand it if I explained it to you with heavenly things you haven't seen? 13 No one has lived in heaven and then come here to live except the Son of Man. He lived there before He was born, and He has come to make spiritual things simple. 14 The miracle of the new birth was taught in the Old Testament when Moses put a brass serpent on a makeshift cross and held it up for people to look at. All those bitten by snakes who looked up at it in faith were healed. The power of God symbolized by the cross overcame the power of the snake. That power didn't come from the cross Moses made, but from the Son of God who would come and die on a cross. He will soon be lifted up between heaven and earth for all to see, 15 and those who look to Him in faith will be healed of the snakebite of sin and will live. 16 For God loved the world so much that He freely gave His only Son to come here and die, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but will be given eternal life. 17 God didn't send His Son to the world to condemn people, but to forgive them and to save them. 18 Those who believe in Him will no longer live under the condemnation of the law. But those who do not believe in the Son of God cannot be healed. They stand condemned because they don't believe. 19 What condemns people is not the fact that they're in darkness but that they don't accept the light of truth. 20 People don't want to be told that their natures are evil, so they don't come to the light, because they're more comfortable with darkness than with light. 21 But those who are honest with themselves will come to the Son of Man for help. They want to be changed and are willing for him to change them." 22 After the interview with Nicodemus, Jesus decided to stay in Judea and let His disciples preach and baptize as John was doing.