It is a question that has spanned the centuries from approximately 30 A.D. to today: Why must we born again?
In the quiet darkness of a Judean night, a well-educated Pharisee named Nicodemus secretly met with Jesus to get the answer to this and many other questions. How often have you met with someone over lunch or after work or at a place of his or her choosing and answered questions about faith and beliefs? (One of my favorite conversations was held while drinking coffee and eating a delicious piece of pie at a Livonia restaurant.)
The Pharisees were the people’s priests in the Israel of the 1st Century. Unfortunately, they had written so many laws and interpretations of the laws that the Jews were ruled more by religious dogma than by mercy, love and faith.
Whether it was the kind words of Nicodemus or the Lord’s ability to know what someone is seeking before the question is asked, Jesus responded to the Pharisee’s greeting with “very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” (John 3:3)
Nicodemus’ comeback was surely a person “cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” (John 3:4)
Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (John 3:5-8)
Read the 3rd chapter of the Gospel of John.
You could also read 1 Peter 1:17-25.
In preparation for the 21-minute period you’ll spend listening to God, meditate on the following ideas and concepts:
Jesus was willing to meet anyone at any time.
The Pharisee must have been convinced that Jesus was approachable. Are you approachable?
Jesus used words and illustrations that everyone could understand.
There are still people in this world that are interested in hearing and learning the truth.
Jesus makes it clear that God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:17)
Go to a place of solitude and just listen for 21 minutes. If you are struggling to be still and wait upon the Lord, then review the five meditation points noted above.
After you are done listening, pray for what God has revealed to you through the power of the Holy Spirit and what you learned from God’s Word. Remember to pray for those in need.
Since one of our goals in the 21-day challenge is to reach out and spend time with people who don’t know Jesus Christ as Lord, you should pray for the people that you have met or will meet during this journey of faith.
What did I do on day #2 to ‘Be the Message’?
Different cultures and religious customs fascinate me. It is amazing the similarities Christians share with others. The dialogue often breaks down barriers.
For example, today I enjoyed a Hindu treat called “samosa” that was very spicy, but delicious. It is a fried pastry filled with spiced potatoes, onions, peas and lentils.It is eaten during the Hindu festival called “Diwali”, which is being celebrated on October 23rd this year. Diwali is a festival of lights that celebrates the victory of light over darkness.
I also led the Wednesday evening men’s group on day #2 and we talked about John 3.
I hope, like Nicodemus, you got some answers to nagging questions on your third day of the ‘Be the Message’ challenge.