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Gospel of John

Week 3 Devotion

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” -John 3:3

Family.  It can be wonderful, and it can be hard.  Our family dynamic as we grow up from childhood, and even as we get older, plays a huge part in continually shaping us into who we are.  We all can look back and see how the family we were raised in has the greatest influence on the person we become.  Was your home a place of safety and comfort, or was it turmoil?  Did you have food, shelter, and all the other things you needed, or was lack of money and basic needs a struggle?  Were angry words spoken, voices often raised, or were kind and gentle words the norm?  Was your father present, and if so, could he be counted on to provide for your family?  Were you lovingly disciplined, taught “right from wrong,” or was it an “anything goes” type of situation.  Was there grace when you made mistakes?  Did you have siblings, and if so, was/is your relationship with them peaceful, or filled with strife? 

In John chapter 3, we meet Nicodemus the Pharisee.  Though we don’t know a lot about his background, we can assume that he likely came from a wealthy and prestigious family.  Being a Pharisee, he was well-educated, well-versed in Jewish law, and held a position of power in the society of the day.  He likely grew up “well to do” and it is doubtful that he ever “went without.”  But in spite of his likely privileged upbringing, something was lacking in Nicodemus' life.  So much so, that when Jesus came onto the scene, Nicodemus was willing to risk all he had previously known, coming to Him secretly during the night.  He was more than intrigued by Jesus’ teachings, especially when he was told by Jesus that in order to see the kingdom of heaven, he had to be “born again.”  

“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked.

What if you had the chance to be born again?  Not as a newborn baby, but as a new creation, born into the greatest family imaginable -the family of God.  No matter your age, your family history, or any previous paths you have chosen, you have the opportunity to be “born again.”  

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” -2 Corinthians 5:17

How amazing it is to be born again into God’s family, a fellowship of believers who love and seek God together and love and care for each other.  To have a loving Father, ever-present and trustworthy, guiding us through our trials and triumphs by means of His Holy Spirit, lovingly disciplining us when we go astray, providing for our every need, and promising us not an easy life, but an abundant life….a life in which He will be with us and within us as we press on toward the prize…..blissful eternal life with Him.  

We encounter Nicodemus again, later in the gospel of John, as one of the few religious leaders who actually defended Jesus and who accompanied Joseph of Arimathea in taking Jesus down from the cross after His crucifixion.  

“He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds.  Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.” -John 19:39-42

Nicodemus risked everything he had previously known to become “born again” after realizing the truth that John’s gospel proclaims to us over and over again…Jesus Christ is God.  And by believing in and receiving Him, any of us can be welcomed into the greatest family ever as well!  

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” -John 1:12

Scripture/Prayer:  All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by His great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for us, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.  Thank You, Father, that You have allowed us, this family of believers, to be co-heirs with Christ, receiving the richness of Your blessings and the inheritance of eternal life with You.  In Jesus name we pray, amen.  

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