Most Christ-followers want to have spiritual conversations with other people because we believe in what Jesus has done in our life and we want others to experience that same transformation, but we don’t know how it happens. We don’t want to be the crazy guy on the corner with a bullhorn. We don’t want to be the angry guy that writes letters to the editor. We don’t want to be the creepy guy that starts telling people what to do, and we aren’t really sure what it is suppose to look like. How does it happen?
When we look at Jesus’ conversations in the gospels there are some similar themes captured blow:
OBSERVATION: John 3:1-2
In verses 1-2 we see Jesus is having a conversation with someone who is a man named Nicodemus who is described as a Pharisee and a ruler of the Jews. Nicodemus was someone with a religious background. It is easy to find people with a religious background today. We turn everything into religion, however, Jesus continually spoke against religion because religion is about what we do to put ourselves in a relationship with God. Religion is about being good people and doing good things, however, Jesus never calls us to be good people and do good things. He actually calls us to be perfect people, yet that perfection was never to come from ourselves but through faith in Jesus’ work on the cross.
INTERACTION: John 3:3-6
When Jesus has a conversation with someone there is not only observation, but there is also…get ready for this, interaction. Jesus is doing something that is really complicated. He is observing the types of people he is with and then he begins to interact with them in conversation. Crazy isn’t it!
Jesus observes Nicodemus has a religious background and then interacts with him to see that none of that religious stuff matters. He tell Nicodemus he needs to start all over so that he can see the kingdom of God. It is our sin that prohibits us from seeing the kingdom of God and we need our eyes opened to see what God is doing.
Jesus describes what it means to be born again. The first birth is of water and the second birth is of the Spirit. It is something that the Spirit of God does and it is miraculous. It is going from dead to God and alive to sin, and now through faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus we are made alive to God and dead to sin. Our eyes are opened to our sin and we are given faith to believe in Jesus’ work on the cross. It isn’t that we become a better person, but that we become a new person.
TENSION: John 3:7-9
When Jesus has a conversation with someone there is not only observation, interaction, but there is also tension. Most of us don’t like tension. We just want to smile, nod, and avoid tension. Some of us here the word tension and we think it means being a jerk. Jesus isn’t being a jerk. Jesus is creating tension because Nicodemus’ beliefs are colliding with His truth and in verse 9 Nicodemus responds, “How can this be?”
Here are a few examples to create tension with people coming from a religious background:
- In all of your religious experiences do you feel like you have come to a place where you feel like you know Jesus?
- How can you be sure you know Jesus?
- How have you experienced a vibrant spiritual life over the last 6 months?