21 DAY CHALLENGE - Day 3
Day 3 – What happened?
Here we are, day 3 of our 21 day challenge. Yesterday we looked at two incredible encounters with Jesus: his first miracle, turning water into wine; and his passion, driving darkness from the temple (house of God). I hope you have been challenged as much as you have enjoyed reading through the first couple chapters of John.
In today’s reading we find Jesus talking with a religious leader named Nicodemus. In their conversation Jesus says that unless you are “born again” you cannot make it to Heaven. Most likely you’ve heard that term at some point in your life. “Born again Christians”. You may have heard it, and been just as confused as Nicodemus here in John 3. Basically what Nicodemus is asking is, “How can I go back in my mother and be born again?”, looking at Jesus’ words from an incredibly physical perspective and rightfully so. After all most of us relate concepts and ideas with our own experiences and education. However, Jesus is getting ready to rock Nicodemus at the core and share with him a mystery that has and continues to be revealed to us more and more as we come to a great understanding of God in our faith journey(s).
Before a person asks Jesus into their heart (make a commitment to die to yourself and allow Christ to live in and through you) and have your sins forgiven (a process of salvation and sanctification), all of us is spiritually dead. While we may have had a perfectly functioning physical body, i.e. our heart pumped the blood, our lungs breathed the air, our brain orchestrated the body, our spiritual heart is devoid of life…our spirit has yet to come to life.
In verse 6, Jesus explains by saying, “Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life”. When we ask Jesus to forgive our sins… when we ask Him to come into your heart… when we become a follower of Jesus, we come to understand that He sent you His Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit makes our heart, our spiritual heart, come to life! When this takes place…we are then ALIVE! And it’s because of this new life (the Holy Spirit) living in us that we are able to follow Jesus.
In the same way that we celebrate life through birthday celebrations, the Bible tells us that when one comes into life in Christ, there is a celebration in heaven. When you and I come into the life that God has intended for us, a new life in Christ, a life in which we are truly BORN AGAIN, we will experience a newfound purpose and reason to celebrate.
As you read through John 3, ask yourself these questions…
1. Have I experienced what it means to be “born again” in Christ? 2. What challenges come with being “born again”? 3. If you have experienced this new life in Christ, what is different about your life now than before you became a fully devoted follower of God? 4. What questions do you have about being “born again”?
God, thank you for allowing me the opportunity to go through this process of discovering more of you through reading Your Word. I pray that you will reveal to me, more and more, who You are and what this looks like in my life. Help me to grow closer to you today.
You can e-mail Pastor Andrew with any questions about this study: firstname.lastname@example.org