SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- The first half of this chapter is a conversation between Jesus and a guy named Nicodemus. Nic was part of two groups that opposed Jesus: the Pharisees and the Jewish leadership. But he was curious about Jesus, so he decided to talk with him one-on-one. Because of his position he was afraid to meet with him during the day and opted instead to use the cover of night.
- During their conversation, Jesus explains (in verses 3-8) that people must be "born again." The idea is that we have to, in effect, start life over. It happens through God and His Spirit's work in our lives, and takes place when someone chooses to follow Jesus. (This death to our old life and rebirth in new life is symbolized in the act of baptism.)
- Jesus also makes it clear (in verses 10-18) that he came to earth to save people from perishing and to give them eternal life. This happens when Jesus is "lifted up" so people see and put their faith in him.
- Jesus also tells Nic (in verses 19-21) that we each have a choice: to love "the light" and live in the truth or to choose evil and remain in the darkness.
- In the second half of the chapter we revisit John (the Baptist). In verse 30 he makes a profound statement: "He must become greater; I must become less."
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- At some point we all must make the choice, for ourselves, to be born again. To put an end to my old life lived in darkness, with myself at the center, and to start a new life lived in the light, where I try to lift up Jesus and make him greater in our lives while we become less.
- Those are decisions we make initially, but must make again every day.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- In what area(s) of your life are you choosing to live in the darkness instead of in the light of truth? Is there something you would be embarrassed to talk to God about? Are there secrets in your life you would prefer to keep secret? You will only be free when you move into the light. Confess to God, and talk to a trusted friend, and start to move towards the light and freedom in that area.
- What might it look like for you to make more of Jesus and less of yourself today? How about: at work? with your friends? with your family? at church?