Some of my favorite phrases are “Way to go!”, “You did it!”, “Great job!”, and “You are awesome!” They mean so much to me because they help me answer the question, “Am I good enough?” At a deep heart level, I long to hear the answer that I am good enough… at anything… at everything. The truth is, I often look to people and to things, and even to myself, to answer that question rather than looking to Jesus to answer the question. I look to the created instead of looking to the creator. In this passage, Jesus answers that question for Nicodemus, and for us.
- What personal accomplishments are you proud of?
READ THE WORD: JOHN 3:1-8 (ESV)
3:1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 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.”3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- What do we know about Nicodemus’ background and accomplishments from verse 1?
- How is Jesus’ response in verse 3 even related to Nicodemus’ statement in verse 2?
- What did Nicodemus think Jesus meant by being “born again”? What did Jesus actually mean (vss. 5-8)?
- What people, personal accomplishments, or things are you looking toward to answer the question, “Am I good enough?”
RESPOND TO GOD
Jesus answered a question that Nicodemus didn’t ask… at least not out loud. At a heart level, Nicodemus wanted Jesus to know what he knew. Nicodemus knew a lot of things. He was not just a Pharisee but also a “ruler of the Jews,” an elite Pharisee. Even his name means “victor over the people.” Nicodemus busted his tail his whole life to accomplish everything he had and to be the best. In one moment, though, Jesus revealed it wasn’t good enough. Jesus said that Nicodemus must be “born again”—something he couldn’t do for himself. Truthfully, we are all not good enough and never will be. Let’s turn from looking to people and things to answer the question, and let’s live today looking to Jesus and believing that he is good enough for us. Jesus did for us what we can’t do for ourselves.
- Confess to God the ways you justify yourself or turn to people to validate your life and abilities.
- Thank God for his gift of new life in Jesus that lets you rest from your hard work of trying to be okay.