Ministry of Jesus: Nicodemus Visits Jesus (John 3: 1-21)
If you wanted to know everything about dinosaurs, you could speak to a “paleontologist”. A paleontologist is an “expert” in the science of fossils of animals, plants and other organisms because his or her job is to study forms of life in prehistoric times.
If you wanted to know everything about travelling into space, you could ask an astronaut. An astronaut is an “expert” in space travel because of his or her training and experience travelling beyond the earth’s atmosphere.
We can think of Jesus as an “expert” in knowing all about the Kingdom of God because God came to earth in the form of Jesus, as His Son.
In the Bible, there is a story from John, one of Jesus’ disciples, about a man named Nicodemus who came to visit Jesus. Speaking of “experts”, Nicodemus was a Pharisee; Pharisees were a group of people, often very rich people who ruled over the temples, thinking they were “experts” in understanding and following God’s laws. They were not priests but powerful men who believed the only way to please God and get to heaven was to follow a long list of rules and regulations, many of which did not come from scriptures. Some Pharisees often treated other people unfairly, saying they were not following “God’s laws” properly. Actually many Pharisees did not always abide by fairness with others through their greed and power. They were suspicious of Jesus, said to be sent from God. Jesus welcomed all people regardless of whether they had broken laws or not and many Pharisees wanted to be rid of Jesus.
Jesus must have been surprised that Nicodemus, as a Pharisee, would visit Him. Nicodemus came at night to Jesus perhaps because he was afraid his Pharisee friends might see Him. Nicodemus was a leader among the Pharisees. He studied the scriptures but there was so much He didn’t understand about how to please God. He asked Jesus to help him, since God surely was with Jesus through the miracles Jesus had performed.
Jesus said to Nicodemus that truly, Nicodemus must be born again, from above, through God. Nicodemus was astonished! He said, “How can a grown man ever be born a second time?”
Jesus explained to Nicodemus that a person is “born again” when the Spirit of God enters into his/her heart. Jesus said that we are born as a human body. That is our first life. With our belief in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, God’s Spirit flows into our heart, cleanses our wrongdoing, and we are “born again.” With our new life, we do our best to follow Jesus while we wait for Him to come back to us, knowing that God will always be with us. We can be a new creation in Jesus! What a wonderful thought! That’s what it means to be a Christian; we have “new life” with God’s Holy Spirit.
Dear God, we thank you that when we let the Holy Spirit into our heart, through our belief in Jesus, we are a new creation. We know we are not “experts” about our new spiritual life and that sometimes we will fail; we trust that You are always here to help us find our way back to You. In Jesus name. Amen.
1. Visit the Sermons for KIDS website and read through the story. There are plenty of activities listed with the story. This story is for children in grades JK – 3.
2. A video from “The Grid for Kids”. This is suitable for kids from grades 4 – 6.
Following Jesus’ baptism, He went off on His own by God’s will for 40 days, to think and pray about His life ahead. You would think Jesus would be tempted as we all are, to take the easy way out and not follow God’s plans, but His heart remained faithful to God. He knew it was time to begin His ministry to spread the Word of His Heavenly Father.
Jesus was often called “Teacher” in Bible stories. He didn’t teach behind a desk or use a white board in a classroom. Jesus often taught outside where he could meet many people in the market place or near a lake where crowds could easily gather on the beach.
One day, Jesus was led by God to a lake in Galilee where He began to teach a group of people on the beach. He turned and saw two fishermen come close to shore in a boat. These men were named Andrew and Simon Peter. Jesus went to the shore and climbed into the boat. He asked the men to row the boat a little way from shore. Jesus sat down to teach the crowd. After He had finished, He asked the fishermen to row out into deeper water to catch some fish. Peter and Andrew said they had been up all night trying to catch fish in their nets and had caught nothing. But the men respected Jesus and did as He asked by throwing their nets into deeper water. When they pulled up the nets there were so many fish caught, that the nets began to break. They called out to their friends James and John, who were in a nearby boat, to come and help them. Together the men filled the two boats so full of fish that the boats began to sink! Peter knew this man Jesus was so special that he got down on his knees and told Jesus to leave him alone because he had done many things wrong; Peter and the others were surprised at Jesus’ actions and were a bit afraid. Jesus told Peter not to be afraid and then He said a strange thing. Jesus told the men that He would make them fishers of people, meaning they would help Jesus “catch” the hearts of people by filling those hearts with the message of God’s love. These fishermen threw down their nets and followed Jesus, as He knew they would, because it was part of God’s plan.
Would we be as strong as those fishermen? They had to leave their jobs, their families, their homes and their friends.
Spreading God’s message of love and kindness to others through our words and actions can be hard. Just like a fisherman, you have to have the “right equipment.” A fisherman needs a good fishing rod, special lures, strong nets, and a solid boat. Our equipment to be a follower of Jesus consists of knowledge of stories of Jesus, a strong heart and trust in God.
Fishermen need to have great patience in hopes of having a good catch. Followers of Jesus need to have patience with themselves in trying to live according to God’s word and in remembering that not all people will want to act immediately according to God’s wishes. Fishermen need to take risks in facing dangerous waters if a storm comes up. As followers of Jesus we take risks in having others make fun of us or become angry when we try to reach out to bullies or to those from a different background or make our own good choices and not always those of our friends.
Following Jesus is a choice we need to make and sometimes we fail. Even Jesus’ twelve friends failed Him at times. What Jesus teaches us is that even when we fail, God’s love is always with us; when we believe in His everlasting Love we can make a difference in our life and in the lives of others.
Thank you God for your eternal Love. Please guide us with your Holy Spirit as we spread your message to others through kind words and fair and loving actions. In Jesus’ name.
1. This is a really upbeat and fun song…
I have decided to follow JESUS
2. Here’s a beautiful video for the whole family to watch…
Fishers of Men – Luke 5
3. Here’s Douglas again…
Fishers of Men
4. Visit the Sermons4KIDS website to read their children’s sermon ‘Fishing for People’. After you’ve read it, click on the activities link at the top of the page for colouring pages, puzzles and worksheets.
Do you enjoy seeing your cousins? It’s fun to visit and play with our cousins when all our relatives gather. Lately, we need to stay safe with just our own family we live with, but when the virus is gone, it will be fun to see our cousins again! Did you know Jesus had a cousin? His name was John. The Bible doesn’t tell us if John and Jesus played together but likely they did when Mary, Joseph and Jesus came back to Nazareth. Maybe they played hide and seek or tag or played a game of marbles!
Of course, John and Jesus grew up to be young men. We know from the Bible that Jesus was interested in God’s word from the time he was a young boy of twelve. Mary and Joseph even lost Him on a trip to Jerusalem and found Him in the temple talking to some teachers about God!
John was a teacher of sorts too, who loved God very much, just as Jesus did. He wanted to share his love of God with others. He didn’t want to go into a temple but rather enjoyed talking with people in the desert. He would wear clothes made of camel’s hair and would eat wild honey and even grasshoppers. John would tell people to stop doing wrong or unkind things. John preached to the people that they could begin a new life with God by realizing their wrongdoings and placing their trust in God’s Word. John told the people of God’s promise to send a Saviour for them. He would take people who wanted to live this new life for God into the river and dip them under and up quickly. The water made the people feel fresh and new and ready to live a life of love and kindness for themselves and others, as demonstrated by Jesus. This ceremony was called “baptizing”. John became known as John the Baptist because he truly believed that people’s hearts and lives could be changed through the ceremony of baptism.
One day while John was baptizing people, Jesus came to him to be baptized. John was surprised to see his cousin . He had heard about Jesus and knew Jesus had done no wrong. John said Jesus should be baptizing John! Jesus told John that His being baptized was what God wanted and said we must all do what God wants us to do. Through being baptized, Jesus wanted others to know that He trusted God. He wanted to show others that he would now be ready to begin His work by teaching others about God’s power, friendship and everlasting love towards them. After John dipped Jesus into the water the Spirit of God came down from Heaven in the shape of a dove, and settled on Jesus, as a sign of peace that Jesus would bring between God and man.
From above Jesus, through rays of shining sunlight, God spoke: “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. Listen to Him.”
God was letting people know that indeed, Jesus was special. He would be God’s greatest gift to us, the Saviour of the world.
You have probably seen a baptism at our church, or pictures of your own baptism. Many babies or toddlers are baptized at St. Mark’s with their family promising to help them grow in God’s way. Maybe you even remember your baptism if you were baptized when you were older. We use a standing basin of water called a font for baptisms at St. Mark’s. The minister holds a baby near the font and gently scoops some warm water onto the baby’s forehead as a symbol of a new beginning as a child of God. For someone older the person bends their head over the basin and some water is poured onto the forehead area. The minister takes some sweet smelling oil and makes a cross on the forehead of the infant or older person being baptized. The cross means the baptized person “belongs to God”
When we are baptized as a child, our family will help us follow in God’s ways. Our church family will help us grow in God’s ways as well, whether we are baptized as children or adults. God will always love us whether we are baptized or not, but baptism means that on the outside we are recognized as a Christian and on the inside we have God’s spiritual gifts in our heart to strengthen our life and to share with others.
Dear God, thank you for loving me, teaching me and helping me grow as a Christian. Guide me to share the example of your love, with others. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
1. This video is for younger children…
John Baptizes Jesus
2. The whole family will enjoy this one…
Jesus is Baptized by John
3. Here are some crafts for you to try…
Baptism of Jesus Crafts
4. Share some conversation or pictures with your family about your baptism, and what it means to be baptized. Being baptized doesn’t mean God will love you more – God already loves you. Not all people are baptized as babies. Some people wait until they are sure they want to put their old life behind them and follow Jesus.
Baptism is a ceremony to let others know that with the help of your Christian family, you are ready to let God help you grow, just as He helped Jesus grow into His role as Saviour.
Advent is now past and the waiting is over! On Christmas Eve the white candle in the centre of our Advent Wreath was lit along with all four Advent candles circling the centre.
The lit white candle represents the light that God’s Son, Jesus, brought into the world when He was born a little baby who was God in the flesh. This candle is known as the Christ Candle. On Christmas Day and the few Sundays following Christmas, the Christ candle is lit for each Sunday Service. The lighting reminds us that old things have passed away and all has been made new, with Jesus’ birth. What a wonderful way for us to move into a brand new year!
Did you know that we are still in the season of Christmas? We are now celebrating the twelve days of Christmas. The twelve days of Christmas begin from Christmas Day to January 6th, when we begin the Season of Epiphany. During Epiphany we celebrate the Wisemen finding Jesus and the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. That’s a lot to celebrate!
Dear God, Thank You for showing us the light of your Love by filling our hearts with joy and peace. Amen.
1. This is a video the whole family can enjoy – it will touch your hearts!
The Christ Child: A Nativity Story
2. Visit the DLTK Kids site – There are lots of activity links at the top of the story.
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