John chapter 3 is pivotal to understand the difference between mere religious head knowledge and experiential heart knowledge. John 3 begins with Nicodemus coming to Jesus, the Rabbi, to ask questions. Jesus immediately took him into uncharted waters by saying, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” Jesus was referring to an inner, spiritual birth. Nicodemus was stuck on natural things.
Jesus amplified His point by introducing the essential ministry of the Holy Spirit. Then He reminded Nicodemus of a familiar incident in the Old Testament, and used that event to illustrate what it foreshadowed: “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:14-16).
Notice how Jesus then applies this truth to Nicodemus. He came to Jesus at night. Jesus said, “Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.” He implied, “I am the light. You’ve come to me. That’s good. Now stand with me. Don’t hide or cover up your sin. Bring it into the light. I am lifted up on the cross to die for your sin. That’s how much I want a relationship with you.
This is much like a groom who wants to have a relationship with his bride, a relationship of love. Is that what you want?” If you do, tell Jesus in prayer.