This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “ 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.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:2, 3)

Since the teaching and life of Jesus was so radical to the Jewish tradition, Nicodemus came to Him at night, I suppose to avoid being seen hanging out with Him. Of course, His life and teaching still affect us that way.

In this conversation, before Nicodemus could even ask a question, Jesus showed him the way to God’s kingdom. Look at his opening sentence. He mentions first that Jesus was a teacher come from God and second that no one can do the miracles and healings that were blowing the minds of the people unless God is with him. Everyone was focusing upon the signs and wonders. Jesus immediately directed him away from the outward things that He was doing and toward the most important inner thing that gave Him his relationship with God. You must be born again. We, like Nicodemus have immediate problems with the concept. He could not understand and his response was, “ How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” (John 3: 4) Jesus’ response to this clearly shows that there is a physical birth and a spiritual birth. We are born into this world physically and it is possible to be born into God’s kingdom spiritually. 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, ‘You must be born again.’ (John 3:5-7)

So, it is not enough to acknowledge Jesus as a great teacher, nor enough to know so much about the bible that you could be called a ruler of the Jews. Jesus even went so far as to say to Nicodemus, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things?” (John 3: 10) When we stand before the Lord at the judgment, He will not ask us if we followed Jesus’ teachings, or how much of the bible we can quote. He will either know you as one of His own or not. There is a parable Jesus told about ten virgins waiting for the bridegroom, which is a metaphor of Jesus and His Bride, the church, all collective believers from all ages. At the end of the story He says to the foolish ones, “Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.” (Matt. 25: 1-12) Now, it is obvious that God is aware of every single thing in His creation, so knowing them or not in this passage refers to intimate friendship. By the way, scripture is clear that there is a judgment. “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.” (Hebrews 9: 27, 28) Notice the adverb used in the second sentence. Eagerly waiting should be the normal life posture of the believer. The dictionary definition of eager is: keenly desiring; wanting very much; impatient or anxious; ardent. In the old King James Version the Greek word is translated as “looking for,” which is a good mental image. When you are in love, you can’t wait to see that person. You daydream and fantasize about them. The clock seems to move very slowly while they are away from you. Do you think God loves you that much? It seems incredible that the Lord of all creation would even be aware of my existence let alone be in love with me. But the scripture is very clear.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:16, 17)

It is relationship that God seeks. In this passage of scripture, Jesus links the concept of rebirth to belief in Him. However, there are several ways to interpret belief. One is intellectual or emotional assent, which only marginally affects your life. The other is absolute reliance upon something to the point that life without it is unimaginable and perhaps impossible. See, it is possible to believe something to be true intellectually and yet not rely upon it or base one’s life and hope upon it. I believe a good diet is important to healthy living, but many people do not and live long lives. However, I also believe that if you stop eating food and drinking water, you will die in a short time. Whether you agree with this or not, if you stop eating you will die. By the same token, you can choose to believe that Jesus was a good guy and a great teacher and even go to church. But there is a big difference between that and the reality that He is Lord of all and if you don’t know Him as your personal Lord and Savior, you will die in your sins and spend eternity away from God and His kingdom. After all, if you don’t want to be near Him now, why should you think that He would force you to be with Him in eternity? When you really grasp the reality of this and how much God loves you even in your unlovable, messy condition, the enormity of that realization propels you into His arms and you are born again. This is not just a religious term, but an actual event, a birth into God’s kingdom and God does it, you have nothing to do with it except to give up your control, relax and believe. Jesus does all the rest, and He will never leave you or forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31: 6 and Hebrews 13:5)

If you don’t know the Lord Jesus as your Savior, now is the time. Today is the day of salvation. The biblical way to salvation is from the heart through the mouth. Paul explained this with several Old Testament references in his letter to the Romans.

“But what does it say? ‘The word is near you in your mouth and in your heart’ (that is the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture says, ‘Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For ‘whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10: 8-13)

You may feel a gentle nudge inside you after reading this, and it may stay with you for a while. It is the Lord’s Holy Spirit calling you. Talk to Him, tell Him you love Him and want to live with Him forever. Make Jesus the Lord of your life and enter God’s rest.