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Whoever Believes in Him by Pastor Youngjae Jee

posted Mar 29, 2015, 11:14 AM by Bowmansville UMC

Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council, came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God.  For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.”  He tried to please Jesus. (John 3:2)  In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”(John 3:3)  Jesus said something irrelevant.  This is the typical way of Jesus’ speech in John’s Gospel.  If someone says something Jesus replies irrelevantly, but his saying always points the core of the message.

Nicodemus was an intelligent man and a religious man.  Socially and politically he was in a high position.  He may know a lot about Jesus and heard a lot about Jesus’ miracles.  However, he did not have a personal relationship with Jesus.  He came to Jesus at night.  He did not want other people to see him meeting Jesus.  Jesus talked about being born again out of nowhere, but that was the point that needed to be addressed to Nicodemus.  His complimentary was just a complimentary, not like praise to God.  Jesus’ saying applies to us too.  Are you smart, active in church, and doing well in your life?  But, were you born again?

Nicodemus replied, “What, what does that mean?”  Jesus explained to him in a few ways, but he didn’t really get it.  I think being born again is like changing the root, origin, or foundation.  It is like a grafting. (Romans 11:17-24)  You as a branch are cut off from a tree and then grafted to another tree.  It must be painful when you are cut off but you will live a new life with another tree, and that tree must be the tree of Jesus Christ.  “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

I have been cut off with the vine tree.  I am no longer attached to thorn bush or thistle, but the life I live now is with the true vine.  The true vine provides me water and nourishment.   “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)  It is dying with Christ and being born again with Christ.  I surrender my possession, my knowledge, and my social and political position before Christ and choose to obey the word of Christ.  This is like being born again.  It is not like adjusting or developing yourself a little bit this or that way, but like completely switching your root, origin, and foundation into the true vine tree.                                         

         Jesus died to give a new life to us.  God cut Jesus Christ to prepare the grafting available for the broken branches like us.  Jesus Christ died for us.  Why God did that?  For God so loved the world, namely people in the world.  How much or how deeply did He love his people?  “So much!”  “So much that His one and only Son was whipped, spitted, speared, nailed on the cross and died!”  He loves us while we are sinners. (Romans 5:8)  That was how God made the grafting be ready for all of us.                        

           Now from our side all we need to do is just to look at Jesus on the cross just like people of Israel had to look at the bronze snake Moses lifted up to save their lives.  In other words, we just need to seek God’s grace through Jesus Christ which is already given for us. Whoever believes in him shall receive God’s grace. 

That was the word Jesus gave to Nicodemus: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)  This is called “the little Gospel” or “the Gospel within the Gospels. 

Do you believe in him?  Christ died, but he rose back to life, and so do we.  Amen.

                                                                             Pastor Youngjae