John 3:1-5 (NIRV)
Jesus Teaches Nicodemus
3There was a Pharisee named Nicodemus. He was one of the Jewish rulers. 2He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. We know that God is with you. If he weren’t, you couldn’t do the signs you are doing.”
3Jesus replied, “What I’m about to tell you is true. No one can see God’s kingdom unless they are born again.”
4“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “They can’t go back inside their mother! They can’t be born a second time!”
5Jesus answered, “What I’m about to tell you is true. No one can enter God’s kingdom unless they are born with water and the Holy Spirit.
Object: Numerical candles for a birthday cake.
Message: When you celebrate your birthday, do you have a cake? How many candles do you put on a cake? (Let children respond.) That’s right; when we have a birthday party and think about blowing out the candles, we put the same number of candles as we are years old, don’t we?
Every year, we don’t just celebrate the first year of our life, we add another candle to the cake. How many candles do you think would be on my cake? (Let children respond. Don’t get upset if their guess is larger than your actual age.)
Today’s Scripture introduces us to a man named Nicodemus. Jesus talked to Nicodemus about being born again. Nicodemus became confused. He thought that Jesus was talking about being born again just like he was the first time.
Jesus was talking about a new kind of birth. The type of birth Jesus was talking about was that God’s Spirit will give you birth. When you are born of the Spirit, you are being born to a whole new way of life. Are there certain things that your family does to mark your birthday each year to show that you are a year older? (Let children respond.) Some families may put a mark on the wall each year to show how much a child has grown. We can check our growth as Christians not with more candles on the cake, but with growth in love and the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. This born-again life is always trusting God and is filled with love and joy. Nicodemus wanted to be born again this way. Do you want to be born again this way?
Prayer: God, sometimes it is hard to understand what a new life that you offer to us is like. Thank you for sending Jesus to help us understand and guide us. Send your Holy Spirit so that we can be born in this new way of life. Amen.