Readings: Ezekiel 36:22-32;
Text: John 2:23 – 3:15
Sermon: Has Jesus committed his heart to you?
You thought you had to commit your heart to Christ. Indeed, we do, if we want to speak that way. But John tells us in our text that because he knew what was in man, Jesus wouldn’t commit his heart to the people! We like a simple gospel, just like it was in the wilderness, as the old hymn has it, with reference to Numbers 21:9 (alluded to in John 3:15): “There is life for a look at the Crucified One, there is life at this moment for thee; then look sinner, look unto him & be saved, unto him who was nailed to the tree.” It is true that we are saved as we are justified by faith in Christ alone and not by works; and even our faith is a gift of God to us. But that’s not all the truth, for we also read: “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Cor.5:17) One night, early in Jesus’ ministry, the Rev Professor Dr Nicodemus – the teacher in Israel (v.10) – came to Jesus with a question. But immediately he had finished his complimentary introduction, which demonstrated very good theology by the way, Jesus cuts in with a statement that seems to come completely out of left field: “You must be born again, Nicodemus.” Jesus knew that, because he really did know what is in man. And he still does; and we still need to be born again.
22 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went. 23 I will vindicate the holiness of My great name which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord,” declares the Lord God, “when I prove Myself holy among you in their sight. 24 For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land. 25 Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.26 Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances. 28 You will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers; so you will be My people, and I will be your God. 29 Moreover, I will save you from all your uncleanness; and I will call for the grain and multiply it, and I will not [a]bring a famine on you. 30 I will multiply the fruit of the tree and the produce of the field, so that you will not receive again the disgrace of famine among the nations. 31 Then you will remember your evil ways and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and your abominations. 32 I am not doing this for your sake,” declares the Lord God, “let it be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your ways, O house of Israel!”
23 Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name, observing His signs which He was doing.24 But Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them, for He knew all men, 25 and because He did not need anyone to testify concerning man, for He Himself knew what was in man.
3 Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; 2 this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these [a]signs that You do unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born [b]again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
4 Nicodemus *said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born [c]again.’8 The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
9 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and do not understand these things? 11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know and testify of what we have seen, and you do not accept our testimony. 12 If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man. 14 As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up;15 so that whoever [d]believes will in Him have eternal life.