Good Shepherd Lutheran

Good News in a Nutshell – John 3:1-17
When I was growing up, I never understood why some of my friends would try to do things they weren’t supposed to do in the middle of broad daylight where the chance of getting caught was the greatest. It seems like waiting for the cover of darkness would have made more sense.
Most of us know that we’re the least likely get found out by others in the dark, and I think that’s why Nicodemus chose to go to Jesus at night. This unorthodox Rabbi named Jesus was beginning to pose quite a threat to the existing religious system. But Nicodemus decided that he needed to meet this Rabbi to see for himself.
When he meets Him, Nicodemus says: “We know you are a teacher who comes from God because those great miracles and signs you have performed could not occur without the presence of God.”
Jesus appreciates the acknowledgement, but His response has Nicodemus totally confused when He says, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh. But what is born of the Spirit is Spirit.” Not only is Jesus saying that you can’t see the kingdom of God without being born from above, but you also can’t enter the kingdom of God without being born of the Spirit.
We can understand why Nicodemus is confused. He was born a Jew, a Pharisee, a Jewish leader who devoted his life to studying the Torah, a member of the elite Sanhedrin court. It seems like if anyone should be able to see and enter the kingdom of God, it would be Nicodemus. But Jesus was telling him that his religious heritage, his obedience to the law, and his position of leadership wouldn’t help him at all. Not only that, but He was also saying that the Kingdom of God would be accessible to anyone who was born anew of the Spirit, even if they weren’t descendants of Abraham and hadn’t observed Mosaic law.
Jesus is talking about God’s mercy and grace for all people and the Son of Man is offering this same kind of mercy, salvation, and grace. Nicodemus is finally starting to see the implication of what this really means. Especially when Jesus clarifies things even further. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”
This is the Good News. It was good news for Nicodemus, and it’s good news for us, too. For God so loved the whole world, He so loved Nicodemus, and He so loves you and me, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in, trusts, and follows Him, should not perish, but have eternal life.
We can all have eternal life. And that truly is the Good News in a nutshell.