Day 7 - Wednesday, March 4 The Kingdom of God DAILY READING - Jn 3:1-21 It might be helpful to use the NIV translation to fill in the following blanks. Nicodemus is a , a member of the Jewish council. Turn to Luke 5:17. Pharisees were also described as of the law. Rabbis were considered teachers or mentors. Rabbis were the most obedient and law abiding of the most obedient and law abiding. Nicodemus addresses Jesus as “Rabbi”. What does this tell us about how Nicodemus views Jesus? Could Nicodemus view Jesus as a peer? How might that influence their relationship? What does Nicodemus say about Jesus? Nicodemus acknowledges that Jesus is from God. He honors the signs and wonders of Jesus. The signs and wonders actually draw Nicodemus more closely into Jesus to examine his nature. He knows something is special about Jesus. In Jn 3:9, we see something preventing Nicodemus from believing the words of Jesus. Jesus says to Nicodemus, “You are Israel’s teacher, and you do not understand these things.” Nicodemus is highly educated. He’s the senior, tenured professor. He would have memorized the Torah, Jewish Scripture. Knowledge isn’t the barrier here. What do you think is preventing Nicodemus from understanding Jesus? In Jn 3:4, Jesus refers to the kingdom of God. Read Isaiah 9:2-7 and Zechariah 9:9-10. How do these two prophets point to Jesus as the one that will bring the kingdom of God? What does Jesus say will be required to SEE the kingdom of God (verse 3)? What does Jesus say will be required to ENTER the kingdom of God (verse 5)? How is one born again and what initiates the process according to John’s Gospel? John 3:15 tells us that everyone who may have eternal life in Christ. Why does John say may have eternal life? Is there something more than belief required? The Spirit gives birth to spirit. The Spirit moves to initiate new life in Christ, a rebirth. This isn’t simply turning over a new leaf. This is an essential new birth of one’s nature. This is something that occurs in your essence. When we are born again, we have a new nature born in Christ. This may hinge on an event that we can easily recall as miraculous. Most of the time, this is a process of renewal and rebirth. What is your experience of being born again in Christ? What were you like before knowing and believing in Christ and how has Christ given you a new nature? John 3:16 is probably the most quoted Bible verse of all time. What does this verse tell us about the nature of God? What does Jn 3:16 tell us about the nature of Jesus? What does John 3:16 tell us about human nature and the world? John 3:17 says that Jesus did not come to condemn the world. I think we often feel condemned,not loved. I think this feeling of condemnation is a barrier to our relationship with Jesus. I know the feeling of shame and condemnation have been a barrier to my own relationship to Christ. How do you think you feel condemned? Might it be a barrier to your relationship with Jesus? What does John say, in Jn 3:20, is the reason people will not come into the light? How does Genesis 3:6-10 relate to John 3:20? What does this tell us about humanity? How does this help you see your personal barriers to Jesus in a new way?