It’s one of the most famous stories from the Gospels – the story of a religious leader who has a nighttime meeting with Jesus – where Jesus cryptically conveys the scope and power of his plan – where those famous words were uttered: “For God so loved the world…”.
We’ll be reading John 3:1-21 this Sunday.
While v16 of this section is probably very familiar – much of what surrounds that text is pretty mysterious stuff. Nick wasn’t the only one who got confused – scholars have had multiple interpretations about some of the things Jesus says here for more than a thousand years.
It says that Nick is a ruler of the Judeans – which means he’s on the Sanhedrin. That being the case, he must have been well older than Jesus, a respected man in the community as well as the temple, and he must have been a person from a wealthy family. What do you think was going through his mind as he met with this young, homeless Rabbi from the sticks?
Based on what he says, does he seem friendly or hostile to you? By the end of the gospel, he certainly shows signs of being a follower of Jesus, but how do you imagine him this night as he meets Jesus for the first time?
Jesus’ answers certainly don’t fit the paradigm that Nick tries to set up. Jesus talks spiritual rebirth and Nick talks obstetrics…it’s sort of a mess.
In trying to make sense of Jesus’ statements about being born of water and spirit, think about the creation account and the Spirit hovering over the face of the waters – what insight, if any, does this give you about what Jesus may be referring to?
What condition does Jesus put on receiving eternal life? What does this condition mean to you?
Read v17. Read it again. If God’s purpose is not to condemn the world, how do you understand v18-21?
God’s purpose is not to condemn – how well do you think the church has presented that truth? How can we better embody what the gospel message is?
Hope you can join us this Sunday!