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Third Thursday


John 3:1-17

Welcome to Lent meditation and worship with Westside church. During this Lenten season, meet us here each day as we read scripture, worship and rest in the presence of God together. Know that as you listen today, you are doing so with others whether in the same space as you or not, and we pray that the Holy Spirit permeates the places we each find ourselves in right now. 

Let us start today by clearing our minds and opening our hearts and minds to what the Lord wants to speak to us through His word today. Take a deep breath in and out. And another in and out.

John 3:1-17
There was a man named Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader who was a Pharisee. 2 After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus. “Rabbi,” he said, “we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you.”

3 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”

4 “What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?”

5 Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. 6 Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. 7 So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.”

9 “How are these things possible?” Nicodemus asked.

10 Jesus replied, “You are a respected Jewish teacher, and yet you don’t understand these things? 11 I assure you, we tell you what we know and have seen, and yet you won’t believe our testimony. 12 But if you don’t believe me when I tell you about earthly things, how can you possibly believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone to heaven and returned. But the Son of Man has come down from heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life.

16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

Nicodemus was a Jewish religious leader. In fact, the literal translation is THE teacher of the Jews. If anyone knew how to live rightly before God, it was him. And yet, he couldn’t reconcile the teachings of Jesus with what he knew as a Jewish leader. Nicodemus spoke of laws and Jesus spoke of spirit. The law the Pharisees knew was like a do’s and don’ts list. It was about living in the right way to be right with God. As a teacher of the Hebrew law, Nicodemus would have expected the Messiah to come in and over throw the government thereby establishing a new kingdom, the Kingdom of God. But Jesus, the Messiah, comes in quietly. Teaching, healing, caring for those on the margins. And so when Nicodemus, who knows there is something to learn from Jesus, hears him speak of not being able to see the Kingdom of God without being born again, he becomes lost.

Jesus is telling him about the way of faith and belief. He explains that his authority lies not in the ways of the Roman Empire, but his authority is over our hearts and spirits. When we believe, when we trust that Jesus is the way, we are brought into the family of God. We are reborn with new and everlasting life. All the old ways are thrown out and the Father looks at us as he does Jesus.

The Kingdom of God turns everything on its head. It doesn’t look like what the Jewish religious leaders thought it would look like and it often doesn’t look like what we think it should. Just as we have learned in the previous days this week, to walk with Jesus requires faith. Faith that the way of Jesus is the best way. Faith that he is does the things he says he does. Faith that he is not out to get us or trick us. We won’t ever know the fullness of the character of God while living on this earth, but our faith and belief can carry us as we trust the words of Jesus. He came into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.


Hope beyond all human hope, you promised descendants as numerous as the stars to old Abraham and barren Sarah. You promise light and salvation in the midst of darkness and despair, and promise redemption to a world that will not listen. Gather us to yourself in tenderness, open our ears to listen to your word, and teach us to live faithfully as people confident of the fulfillment of your promises. Amen.


  1. Write down the story of when you first came to know Jesus personally. If you haven’t made this choice yet, what is holding you back from taking that step?
  2. When have you felt like Nicodemus? What changed you and moved you out of that place?