Message: In John 3 a Pharisee named Nicodemus came to Jesus at night and acknowledged that Jesus had to have come from God as a teacher because nobody could perform those signs unless they were from God. A few things I found interesting here: First, he came at night to say this to Jesus, when normally the Pharisees showed up publicly in the day and challenged Jesus with questions that were setup in the hopes of discrediting him. This was a private conversation which indicates it must have been somewhat genuine. The next thing I found interesting is that he said “we” know that you came from God. I wonder who the “we” was if he came alone. Was this proof that the Pharisees really did believe Jesus was a valid teacher? If so their actions against him were worse than just plain ignorance but I’m not in the place of judgment. It’s just interesting. The third thing I found interesting and more profound was that rather than confirming that he did in fact come from God, Jesus told him that that what he was verbalizing could only really be seen and understood by being born again and that the flesh can only observe the flesh and does not comprehend spiritual things. It took me back to the beginning of Exodus when Moses performed signs from God, and the magicians and sorcerers were able to mimic some of those things. It seems to me like this was a caution that signs are not an appropriate way to recognize that someone is authentically from God. The last thing I found interesting (for now) is that Nicodemus was acknowledging that Jesus was a teacher from God, but he wasn’t acknowledging that Jesus WAS God because he didn’t discern that. We know that Peter did though because back when Jesus asked them “whom do people say I am? And whom do YOU say I am? Peter blurted out that he was the Messiah and Jesus told him that flesh and blood did not reveal that to him. That was revealed only by the father. The point in here is that if we aren’t born again (if our minds are not renewed) then we can’t discern spiritual things and we will not understand them. We will only see things with our fleshly humanistic views. When we are born again and are asking God to renew our minds (this is a daily and sometimes moment by moment thing) we will be able to see things that the unsaved world can’t see or understand. This is why Nicodemus struggled so hard with the whole idea of being born again. His fleshly mind could only perceive the flesh and it made no sense to him.
Command: Renew my mind constantly so that I can see beyond the obvious view of the flesh. I will never understand all that God is doing but I will be able to see the hand of God doing things that the unrenewed mind doesn’t see.
Promise: When I renew my mind I will be able to see the hidden things God wants me to see and it will give me insight to pray.
Warning: If my mind is not renewed I will only be able to see what is in front of me and I will miss the spiritual context.
Application: This is such a powerful reminder that God has chosen us to partner with him. He wants me to pray his will and I can’t do that if my mind is not renewed. My fleshly mind wants to pray for situations based on what I see and think is best but a renewed mind allows me to see other possibilities and it provokes me to stop trying to dictate God in my prayers and instead inquire of Him to show me his will so that I can pray in it.