"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"( John 3:3-6)
Do you find it curious that this was Jesus' response to Nicodemus when he came to him at night to find out if he was the Messiah. Nicodemus didn't so much as get the question formulated in plain words, but only hinted to the prospect that Jesus was sent from God and could be the Messiah when Jesus tells him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God"
We would expect Jesus to wait for the question and answer him plainly that he was the Christ , and yet, he immediately tells him he must be born again. Why is this proof that Jesus was the Messiah? Nicodemus presses further, not understanding his statement, "How can a man be born when he is old?" Jesus testifies about himself through his explanation, "Truly, truly I say unto you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."
Many people reject that truth that Jesus heals today based on their past experiences. When people go through sickness or watch a loved one go through disease and die, all the time believing for that person to be healed, the temptation to blame God for not healing them is great. Many will claim that it is not Gods will to heal them, but fail to look inwardly as to the real cause of the healing not taking place...
Looking to scriptures for the answer, we see that Jesus battled the same thing, a great example is in Matthew's gospel the 17th chapter. Jesus, Peter, James and John had just come down from the mountain where Jesus was transfigured into the fullness of His divine glory right before them.
"I will become more undignified than this...” (II Samuel 6:22)
While worshipping one Sunday morning in a unified fellowship of believers as the Lords presence fell on all assembled there, people began to dance and shout for joy to the Lord, praising the Lord for the freedom we experience in Christ. The Glory of the God and the presence of God filling the assembly and as it did people started worshipping in spirit and truth.
A word from the Lord came to me during this time, the Spirit of the Lord said to me, "become more undignified than this - " It was as if the Lord was giving me permission to worship him as he created me to worship Him, in Spirit and in truth and to worship as the Lord moved and directed me.
"And God, protect the lives of those who will receive these Bibles, and burn your words into their hearts so that they may endure whatever faces them as they step out in faith to live a life for you in an area of the world that is it forbidden to be called a Christian, Amen”
As the words stumbled out of my mouth and the last amen was uttered I looked up into the faces of those who had joined me in prayer. A lot depended on the afternoons activities. For the past two months we had been praying over five little New Testament Bibles which were headed to China. As the Bibles came in each month, we prayed for the individuals on our list even though we could not read their names for the language was foreign to us.
Every Bible we put into an envelope and sealed shut, meant another brother or sister would receive the words of life in a place very foreign to our comfortable lives in America. For the individual receiving the Bible, it also meant that these same beloved in Christ would face persecution and death as they possessed this life written on the page.
"I have become its (church) servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:25-27)
Have you wrestled over what Paul was referring to in this passage of scripture from Colossians? What was the mystery that Paul had been commissioned to preach…and why had it been hidden for generations and generations?
Paul was commissioned to preach the gospel to the Gentiles, but the message of the coming Messiah was in itself no secret… it had not been hidden throughout the generations. But rather, it had been foreshadowed and prophesied throughout the entire Old Testament starting with the curse of Adam and Eve in the garden. So what was the mystery that Paul is presenting to the church at Colosse?
"Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers" (Luke 22:31-32)
Has a passage of scripture ever knocked you over the head as if it were a baseball bat? Recently in my Monday night small group I stumbled over this passage as we were discussing the strengths and weaknesses of Peter while reading the book "Twelve Ordinary Men" and since then, this verse has given me many moments of reflection.
In this passage, Jesus is telling Simon Peter that he is about to go through some intense testing at the request of Satan. The Disciples are reclining at the table partaking in the Last Supper. They had been arguing over which one of them would be the greatest and the Lord turns to Peter and tells him that Satan has specifically asked His permission to shake him to the very core.