Reading through the Bible together

Sunday, January 11, 2015

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Regardless of our station in life, we all need Jesus to obtain eternal life.  Nicodemus represented religious orthodoxy, wealth, power, academic achievement, and at the same time inadequate faith.  A member of the Sanhedrin—a high position of responsibility in the Jewish nation—he is impressed and drawn to the teachings and boldness of the humble teacher from Nazareth. Despite his personal conviction, Nicodemus is not willing to be seen with Jesus and decides to wait for the cover of darkness to meet with Him.

Jesus immediately goes beyond the superficial of casual conversation with Nicodemus to the core of every encounter with human beings: “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (vs. 3).  Nicodemus wants to engage in philosophical conversation, but Jesus is only interested in sharing salvation, which He came to offer every member of the human race. The conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus is also for you and me. 

In vs. 16 Jesus shares with Nicodemus the essence of the Gospel: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” This offer is good for you, dear reader, no matter what country of the world you live in.  The “whosoever” means you.

Ellen White characterizes the ultimate gift of heaven when she states: “But this great sacrifice was not made in order to create in the Father’s heart a love for man, not to make Him willing to save. No, no! ‘God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son’” (Steps to Christ, p. 13).

Like John the Baptist, it is our privilege to lift up Jesus and do so in humility. The principal message of this chapter is clear: salvation is a gift of God accessible to all through the person of His Son Jesus Christ.

Willie Oliver
Department of Family Ministries
General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists