Our Gospel lesson this week is John 3:1-17, taken today from the New American Standard Version (NASB).
Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into 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 be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and do not understand these things? Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know and testify of what we have seen, and you do not accept our testimony. If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.
Is there any better statement of the relationship God desires with us than John 3:16? “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” God created us and we turned away, but He loved us too much to let us go.
God has continually offered his people the chance to reconnect, to repent of our sin and receive His forgiveness. Through Jesus, He gave us a way to be saved, by believing in Him and living as He taught us. God’s grace is there for all who confess Jesus as Lord and share the Good News with the world.
He calls us to be born again, changing our hearts and minds and lives, taking up our cross and following the path Jesus showed us. It is not always easy but His promise is certain. God so loves every one of us that He sent Jesus to bring us back.
Gracious God, You demonstrate Your love for us every day. Help us to accept that we can turn from sin and be forgiven through the gift of Jesus Christ. Amen.