JOHN 3:3: “Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” NLT
OBSERVATION: What is so “good” about – Good Friday? How can Christians all over the world celebrate a day when their Lord was brutally beaten and nailed to a cross to die? Is Good Friday a day to mourn or a day to celebrate? The answer can be found in Jesus’ discourse with Nicodemus.

Has anyone ever asked you the question – “When you die, will you go to heaven?” How did you answer this question? Jesus made it very clear to Nicodemus when He said,

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

The Kingdom of God is synonymous with heaven and eternal life. This was such a profound statement that Nicodemus was taken back by it. He had come to Jesus at night to speak with Jesus about spiritual things. Nicodemus was a leader of his people and a devout Pharisee. He had studied the law from his youth. He knew the Scriptures. Why did Jesus begin the discourse with such a cryptic statement?

In this statement, we can learn so much. No one goes to heaven when they die because of the stature they achieved in this life. Nicodemus was a Jewish leader. This alone would not give him eternal life. And, no one goes to heaven because they are religious, go to church, or do good deeds. Nicodemus was not only a devout Jew, he was a part of one of the strictest sects in Judaism – the Pharisees. Finally, no one goes to heaven simply because they acknowledge God. Nicodemus also acknowledged God, but it was not enough!

  • “…Rabbi,” he said, “we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you.” John‬ ‭3:2‬ ‭NLT‬‬

It was after this statement that Jesus replied – “…unless you are born again, you cannot enter the Kingdom of God.” While Nicodemus struggled with this statement, Jesus took it to the next level. What He said next probably really threw Nicodemus for a loop!

  • “No one has ever gone to heaven and returned. But the Son of Man has come down from heaven. And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life.” John‬ ‭3:13-15‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I am sure when Nicodemus heard this he was really confused. He acknowledged that God was with Jesus. Yet, this is much different than Jesus claiming that He came down from heaven. And, what does it mean that the Son of Man must be lifted up? In this statement, Jesus referred to His crucifixion. As Moses lifted up the serpent on a pole in the wilderness to stop a plague, so the Son of Man must be lifted up on the cross to break the power of sin.

This is why Good Friday is – GOOD!

Without the cross, there could be no forgiveness. Without forgiveness, there could be no rebirth. And, without rebirth, there would be no eternal life. Jesus followed up these words to Nicodemus with the most famous verse in the entire Bible.

  • “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. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17 NLT

God loved the world so much that He sent His Son to die. Jesus, born of the Holy Spirit, came to live among us, experience all of our sufferings and weakness, and take the penalty of the sin of mankind upon Himself as He died upon the cross. The punishment and death were of the most horrific nature. Yet, they were good. They were good because without this supreme act of kindness and love no one could go to heaven when they die!

To be born again one has to realize that all of their human efforts cannot save them. This is called repentance. When we realize that even our grandest achievements are but filthy rags compared to the holiness and goodness of God, we are poised to receive the gift of eternal life. When we place our faith in the completed work of Jesus Christ on the cross and His victorious resurrection, something miraculous takes place in our lives!

  • “Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ 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.” John‬ ‭3:5-8‬ ‭NLT‬‬

As we celebrate this day we call Good Friday, I want to ask you a question. Have you been born again? Do you have the assurance that when you die you will experience eternal life? Are you walking in the hope of this eternal life each day and experiencing His abundant life through the Holy Spirit? Are you willing to lay down all of your achievements and self-righteousness so that you can be clothed with His great love and true righteousness?

Will this Good Friday be GOOD for you?

Lord, I pray that we will all look upon Your cross with great reverence and also great rejoicing. Your supreme sacrifice has opened heaven’s doors to all who will believe. Pour out Your Holy Spirit upon us today and upon all those who hear Your words,

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

In Jesus Name!

About Kirk's Devotional Journal

Kirk L. Zehnder is the Founder of Resurrection Christian Outreach. RCO is a ministry that promotes the growth and vitality of the local church through speaking engagements, seminars, various media tools, and written curriculum and books. This ministry was started over 35 years ago by Kirk as a means to strengthen the church that he was pastoring. It grew as Kirk began to share these tools with other churches. Today many of the materials are being used by local churches both nationally and internationally. Kirk's Devotional Journal is a result of struggling with Bible reading programs that never seemed to work. Kirk feels the Lord helped him discover an easy-to-follow program to Read, Reflect, Pray, and Journal through the Bible in one year. This program is called L.I.F.E. Unlike other programs there are no dates to follow. You can miss a day and still complete your reading. You never feel like the dates and verses you missed are chasing you. You are free to enjoy your daily Biblical journey and listen to the voice of The Lord. For more information on the L.I.F.E. plan, send an email to rcoutreach@aol.com. Kirk is also available for speaking engagements, seminars, and retreats. With over 40 years of professional business and pastoral ministry experience, Kirk brings a unique combination of practical wisdom, humor, and Biblical insight. If you would like Kirk to speak at your church, school, or ministry, please send an email to rcoutreach@aol.com and we will get back to you as soon as possible to discuss your opportunity.
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