John 3:16. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
A most familiar verse! It’s said to be the most memorized and the most quoted verse in the entire Bible.
It tells us that God is love, who He loves, how much He loves, what our response should be to that love and how that love is ultimately rewarded. Without question, it’s the gospel in miniature; the Good News of Jesus Christ encapsulated in just 25 original Greek words.
Throughout the centuries men have bent their knees in repentance and all because the power of this one verse. It’s not a stand-alone verse, though we tend to think of it in that framework. It’s part of a masterful conversation Jesus had with Nicodemus who was a Pharisee, a spiritual teacher of Israel.
However, Nicodemus was not like the other Pharisees, for quite obviously, God had been tugging upon the strings of his heart. There was something missing in Nicodemus’ life, an emptiness, a void you might say. In the darkness of night, he seeks out Jesus. Was it for privacy or simply to be incognito? After all, he was a Pharisee, a religious teacher, himself. He had a reputation to protect. But maybe he wasn’t too concerned about this reputation after all. Perhaps, weighing heavy upon his heart were some eternal issues that absolutely had to be answered.
For whatever reason Nicodemus was compelled to speak with Jesus. His approach was courteous and respectful and his attention was undivided. Nicodemus asks, how is it that a man can be born again? After all, he’s already been born, once? Jesus then explains water birth (or human birth) verses spiritual birth. Old Nick must have got it, if not that day then definitely in the days to follow, for Nicodemus was one who carefully attended to Christ’s burial. At the end, Nicodemus demonstrated rebirth — even at a funeral.