I recently had the opportunity to watch season one of "The Chosen." It's a multi-episode series about the life of Jesus that uses interesting backstories to bring the Scriptures we all love and cherish into a more deeper understanding. It's a free app, and for those of you who have some technical savvy, you can cast it to your television without charge. Through donations from many believers, the series is available free for anyone to watch around the world.

This presentation of the Gospel is done with excellent quality, and the acting is amazing. There are several scenes that touched my heart deeply, but one in particular that I have been thinking about was a scene that involved Jesus and a man named Nicodemus.

If you remember in the Bible, Nicodemus was a pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin who was a highly respected teacher of the Jewish religious law. He knew that a Messiah was coming to be the king of the Jews, but he never dreamed that Jesus would arrive as an ordinary person or that he would actually have the honor to know him.

Christ began his ministry when he was around 30 years old, and we know that his wisdom to relay God's message and his miracles were causing quite a stir. The Romans and the Sanhedrin were strongly against a rogue preacher turning the hearts of the people toward what they considered a blasphemous cult.

However, in the book of John, we are introduced to Nicodemus, who was keeping a close watch on this prophet called Jesus of Nazareth. Nicodemus was observing these miracles with his own eyes, and he knew in his heart that only someone who had been sent from heaven could do these things. Eventually, he arranged a secret meeting with Jesus at night and began to question him about God's law.

In chapter 3, we notice the renowned and highly esteemed Nicodemus, humbly addressing Jesus as rabbi, which means "scholar." As they began to talk, Nicodemus admitted that he believed Jesus is truly the promised redeemer, as there is no other explanation. Christ responded by telling him, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Nicodemus replied, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother's womb and be reborn?" Jesus explained that a person who wants to follow God must be born twice: once in the natural and once in the spiritual. Nicodemus was astounded and truly in awe with these words.

Jesus went on to talk about how Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness and how soon the Son of man will be lifted up on the cross as the Savior. Jesus was telling him that no matter how much people know or what good they do on the outside, everyone needs to be changed on the inside. That can only happen through a supernatural act of God when his Holy Spirit convicts us of wrongdoing and transforms us into a new creation. In verse 16, Jesus spoke one of the most popular promises in the Bible. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

They ended their meeting with Jesus inviting Nicodemus to follow him. Jesus told him where to meet the next day, and Nicodemus actually showed up but was hiding around the corner of a building listening intently. Jesus looked around and quietly whispered, "You were so close."

You see, Nicodemus had a loving wife, children, grandchildren and many earthly possessions, along with a reputation of being one of the most esteemed religious leaders in all the land. Unfortunately, he chose to not step forward and join the cause of Christ. Instead we see him weeping bitterly because of his pride and the lack of courage to surrender all for God.

I cried when I watched this because I know he represents most all of us. How many have wanted to abandon their lives and be more dedicated, but were not willing to take up their cross and follow Jesus?

God says in Ezekiel 36:26, "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you." Being born again means that we have a new identity and a new purpose for our existence. We no longer live for ourselves but for him. (Matthew 10:32-39, Matthew 19:27-30).


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Billy Holland