The Crux • Chapter 2 • Who Is Jesus and Why Did He Come?
Have you ever spent an extraordinary amount of time trying to figure out an answer to something? Perhaps you had a marathon watching of a TV show to see what happens in the end. Or, maybe you have googled a topic and did not stop until you found exactly what you were looking for.
Last time, we examined the story of Adam and Eve and the brokenness that came as a result of their sin. Throughout history, the Jewish people were acutely aware of the need to fix the problem of sin that began in the garden. They waited for the day when God would make everything right and fix the chaos in humankind and in nature. In particular, they were waiting for a messiah. Messiah in Hebrew means anointed one and refers to the anointing of a king. They envisioned a day when God would send a new messiah or king who would resolve the problems that began with Adam and Eve. One of the promises of the messiah was the signs or miracles that he would do. In the Gospel of John, we explore Jesus’ identity and purpose through a conversation He has with a Jewish teacher named Nicodemus. After Jesus performed signs or miracles, Nicodemus comes to Jesus and they discuss how to enter the kingdom and why Jesus has come into the world.
1 Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God, for no one can do these signs that you are doing unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a person once grown old be born again? Surely he cannot reenter his mother’s womb and be born again, can he?” 5 Jesus answered, “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. 6 What is born of flesh is flesh and what is born of spirit is spirit. 7 Do not be amazed that I told you, ‘You must be born from above.’ 8 The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” 9 Nicodemus answered and said to him, “How can this happen?” 10 Jesus answered and said to him, “You are the teacher of Israel and you do not understand this? 11 Amen, amen, I say to you, we speak of what we know and we testify to what we have seen, but you people do not accept our testimony. 12 If I tell you about earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13 No one has gone up to heaven except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man. 14 And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed. 21 But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.
- How can signs be helpful in believing in something?
- How can signs hinder belief?
- Why do you think people believe in something beyond this material world even though they cannot see it?
*Adapted from FOCUS