Jesus teaches Nicodemus an important lesson
In this issue:
Reading of Sept. 14, 2017: Jn 3:13-17
Jesus was in Jerusalem for the feast of Passover. During this time, many people came to believe in him because of the signs he was doing.
Among those people was a Pharisee named Nicodemus. He was a member of the Sanhedrin, which was the ruling body of the Jews.
One night Nicodemus went to talk to Jesus.
“Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God, for no one can do these signs that you are doing unless God is with him,” Nicodemus told Jesus.
Jesus then began teaching Nicodemus an important lesson. He explained that people who want to see the kingdom of heaven must be “born from above.”
“How can a person once grown old be born again? Surely he cannot re-enter his mother’s womb and be born again, can he?” asked the confused Nicodemus.
“Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit,” said Jesus, explaining that he had been talking about a spiritual rebirth rather than a physical one. “What is born of flesh is flesh and what is born of spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I told you, ‘You must be born from above.’”
Jesus also explained that no one had gone up to heaven except the one who had come down from heaven — the Son of Man.
And, he continued, just as Moses had placed a bronze serpent on a pole for the Israelites to look at to be saved from their poisonous snake bites, “so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”
Jesus then told Nicodemus why God sent his son into the world.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life,” Jesus said. “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”
READ MORE ABOUT IT:
1. Why was Jesus in Jerusalem?
2. Who went to talk to Jesus?
In John 3:14-15, Jesus told Nicodemus that the Son of Man would be “lifted up” — in other words, he would be crucified on a cross and die for our sins to give us eternal life.
Jesus compared his crucifixion to an Old Testament passage about another lifting up that saved people’s lives.
In Numbers 21:4-9, Moses and the Israelites were in the desert. The people were sinning against God by complaining about the long journey and not liking the food God gave them.
This was not the first time the Israelites had sinned against God by complaining, and he had heard quite enough.
As a punishment for their sin, God sent poisonous seraph serpents into the Israelites’ camp. Many people were bitten and died.
The Israelites realized they were sinning and begged Moses to pray to God to save them.
God heard Moses’ prayer and told him to make a bronze serpent and mount it on a pole. He told Moses that those who were bitten should look at the serpent on the pole and they would recover.
The Israelites did what they were told. Anytime a person was bitten, he or she looked at the bronze serpent and lived.
St. Januarius was born in the latter part of the third century and was the bishop of Benevento, Italy.
In the late third century and early fourth century, the Roman Emperor Diocletian was persecuting Christians. Around the year 303, Januarius was visiting some deacons and laymen who were in jail because of their faith. During the visit, he was arrested for being a Christian as well.
Januarius and the other Christians were condemned to death by being thrown to wild beasts in an arena. When the animals would not attack, Januarius and the others were beheaded.
We remember him on Sept. 19.
Using the hints provided, circle the quotations of Jesus. If the quotation is from someone else, write that person’s name in the blank after the quotation.
1. “Neither do I condemn you. Go, (and) from now on do not sin any more.” (John 8:11) __________
2. “May it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38) __________
3. “Look out, and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” (Matthew 16:6) __________
4. “If my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him?” (Matthew 18:21) __________
5. “I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming.” (Luke 3:16) __________
6. “The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel.” (Mark 1:15) __________
Quotes from Jesus: 1, 3, 6
Names in blanks: 2. Mary; 4. Peter; 5. John the Baptist
Kids, enter our essay contest for a chance to win a $25 gift card!
The essay question for September 2017 is: What is your favorite quotation from Jesus and why?
Send your essay — including name, home address, telephone number, school and grade — to Catholic Courier, PO Box 24379, Rochester, NY 14624.
All entries of 100 words or less must be received by the Catholic Courier no later than 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 20, 2017, to be considered for this contest. The winner, whose essay will be published in an upcoming print and online edition of Kids’ Chronicle, will be notified by phone.
1. Essay content must be original and written by the entrant.
2. Essays cannot exceed 100 words in length.
3. Entrants must be no more than 14 years of age as of the last day of this contest.
4. Only one essay per entrant will be accepted during any given contest period.
5. Winners will be selected at the sole discretion of the Catholic Courier, and all decisions are final.
6. By submitting an essay, the entrant agrees to allow his or her name, grade level, school name and essay submission to be published online and/or in print at the discretion of the Catholic Courier.
7. Submitted essays that do not adhere to these rules, entries that do not include all required information or entries that are deemed inappropriate by the Catholic Courier will be disqualified.
8. At the discretion of the Catholic Courier, this contest may be modified or cancelled without notice at any time.
9. All entries become the property of the Catholic Courier.