This blog series follows my “Teachings of Jesus Class” where we looked at just the words of Jesus and not the interpretations his followers presented in the rest of the New Testament.
1. The Kingdom of God can’t be seen—experienced or envisioned—by those not born of the Spirit.
Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit” (Joh 3:5-6).
Being born of water meant simply being alive. Being born of Spirit was a bit more mystical.
“The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit” (Joh 3:8).
Yet, Jesus taught that spiritual birth had something to do with belief – not as one believes in Santa or fairies, but a sort of trust or alignment with Christ, who is the light that has come into the darkness:
“Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God” (Joh 3:20-21).
2. The Kingdom of God belongs to some more than others. . .
It belongs to those who recognized their spiritual poverty—their need for God (Matt 5:3), to those who are persecuted because of righteousness (Matt 5:10), and to those who come to Christ with child-like desire (Matt 19:14).
3. It is hard for the wealthy—anyone who has more than they need—to enter the Kingdom of God.
Jesus said, “Go, sell your possessions, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 19:16-26)
More blog posts to come on the Teachings of Jesus. Check out April’s Books, Disorderly Bible Studies, for group and individual study.