John 3:3 The Kingdom of God.
Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.
“This man Jesus is a mystery”, thought Nicodemus. “I have never heard anyone speak like him. I find myself wanting desperately to understand but his words are so unreal. Born again? How can this be, Kingdom of God? What does this mean? I am Israel’s teacher but I do not know what he is saying. This is no ordinary Rabbi. I have so much to learn. ”
Everything Means Something
The wrong expectations
For the Old Testament Jew, everything meant something, they just didn’t know it. All of their rituals and sacrifices were a picture of Jesus and his role in our lives. Their history contained example after example of what He would do for us. But most of them missed the significance. They took everything literally, while Jesus often spoke spiritually. They wanted Jesus to be their king and his kingdom to be an earthly one. Although He is a king, it wasn’t the king they were looking for. They expected their Messiah to conquer the Romans and set up a kingdom where all their enemies would be his footstool. After all, it was prophesy. Psalm 110:1 – “The LORD says to my Lord; “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” They were waiting for the day when they would be the ones in power. But that wasn’t his purpose for walking the earth as a man. While it is true that Jesus will one day return and set up a physical kingdom here on earth, the kingdom he was talking about to Nicodemus was the spiritual kingdom of God.
The Spiritual Kingdom of God
With the arrival of Jesus, the spiritual kingdom of God became available to man. Up until then, no one had the ability to have the personal relationship with God and to be a part of His kingdom the way we do now. They only had the law and the prophets to tell them God’s will for them. That was their link to God. Then John the Baptist came preaching and preparing the way for the Messiah. He showed them that it was their hearts that mattered. John told them to “Repent for the Kingdom of God was near”, because through Jesus, everything would change. Luke 16:16 – “The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached,” He would fulfill everything the Law, Prophets and their history told them about. In his own words he says “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” (Matthew 5:17) Now that Jesus has paid the price for our sins, we can communicate directly with God, He is always with us, His kingdom is within us. Luke 17:20, 21 –“Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or “There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.”
The good news is that we can enter the kingdom of God when we repent of our sins and believe that Jesus has paid the price for them, making us pure before God. This enables us to have the personal relationship with our creator that He intended for us. It saves us from the death we deserve for all the times we have hurt someone, been selfish, told a lie, taken something from someone else, cheated to get ahead, been prideful or stubborn, and any other sin we all commit on a regular basis. When we enter the kingdom of God, we become a new person. The old has passed away. It is a world where the last are first, the weak are strong, the wise are foolish and we live for the glory of God instead of ourselves. But most of all, when we enter the kingdom of God, we are at peace with Him. There is no more emptiness, no more sense that something is missing. We are forgiven.
Continue following the conversation with a story illustrating what it means to be born again. Thank you!