Encounters with Jesus

Jesus & the Seeker

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Sermon text: John 3:1-15

Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.” Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things? “Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

Discussion Questions

  1. If we are all "seekers" who are searching for and pursuing the good life in one way or another, what does this seeking look like in your own life? What are you seeking, and where do you go to find it?
  2. Describe Nicodemus' encounter with Jesus. What about this seeker's encounter do you find particularly encouraging, challenging, or confusing?
  3. Consider two important things that Jesus says to Nicodemus: 1) "You must be born from above" (i.e. "born of water and Spirit") and 2) "the Son of Man must be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life." What do you think Jesus means by these two statements, and what do you think they mean for you this week? Or to put it differently, how do you think Jesus and the Spirit should influence both what you are seeking and where you are going to find it?