The television game show Jeopardy has been on the air since 1964 and hosted for the past 30 years by Alex Trebek. To win, contestants are given an answer and must come up with the corresponding question. In today’s passage, Jesus and Nicodemus, a member of the ruling religious leaders, have a private session of questions and answers. Their conversation centers on one key question that even Nicodemus, an esteemed religious teacher, could not answer: “How can someone be born when they are old?” (v. 4).
Nicodemus was right. Physically, such a thing is impossible. But Jesus was pushing Nicodemus to understand deep spiritual truth. In a sense, they were having two different discussions: one based on the truth of earth, the other based on “heavenly things” (v. 12). Jesus was pointing Nicodemus to spiritual truth: through Him would come eternal life.
One of the most well-known verses in the Bible, John 3:16, appears in the context of this conversation. First, God loved the world. This includes Nicodemus and it includes you. God’s gift of love exemplified through the gift of His “one and only Son.” Through the gift of Jesus, God has provided a way of salvation. Whoever believes in Jesus will be born again; they will not perish but receive eternal life. We are born again spiritually and resurrected bodily at Christ’s second coming.
Although we do not hear the end of this conversation, we know that Nicodemus’ life was forever changed. In John 19:38–42, we see Nicodemus again, this time to bury Jesus and to wrap His body with myrrh and aloe. What Jesus had explained to Nicodemus had now come true. God’s love had provided a way for Nicodemus and for us to be born again.
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