Read John 3:1-8. TEXT: "Nicodemus said to Him, 'How can these things be?'" (John 3:9).
Jesus made powerful enemies when He cleansed the temple. But He also impressed some leaders with His boldness and His miracles. In chapter three a prominent leader comes to the Light, but fear of his colleagues leads him to come to Jesus under the cover of darkness.
Being a Pharisee, Nicodemus thinks his good life will win him heaven. Jesus immediately challenges this false hope. "Truly, truly I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God." Answering Nicodemus' confused reply Jesus explains He is talking about baptism. But Nicodemus still finds it difficult to accept these words.
You and I might find it difficult also. Like Nicodemus we have so many good qualities going for us, especially when compared to others we can point out. We work hard to provide for our families. We try to be good citizens. We try to treat our neighbors well.
But Jesus is clear and unbending, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh." It can never be anything but flesh. You and I can try as hard as we want, but we are and always will be sinners. And saying, "I'm only human" is no excuse either. Jesus was truly human, yet He was without sin.
That is why our Lord commanded His Church to baptize sinners. Through the power of God's Word in that water Jesus takes our sins and guilt upon Himself and suffers and dies in our place. He fills us with His Holy Spirit and makes us children of God. Just as Jesus rose again on the third day, He will raise us to live with Him in paradise forever.
THE PRAYER: Jesus, bring me out of the darkness of my self-righteousness to the light of Your forgiveness and peace. Amen.
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