Nicodemus Part One

http://ref.ly/Jn3.1-13

Jesus is viewed in the role of the Teacher. This passage includes the following: http://ref.ly/Jn3.1-21. Nicodemus may have been one of the individuals who saw the signs and miracles as noted in http://ref.ly/Jn2.23. This caused him to be attracted to Jesus. There are several thoughts concerning Nicodemus’ reason for coming by night. I will present two of those thoughts.

1.     Nicodemus worked during the day. He had time in the evening to visit Jesus. There is a problem with this point of view. Nicodemus is considered to be a rich man. Therefore, he would be one of the religious leaders who need not work during the daytime.

2.     He did not want his fellow religious leaders to know he was seeking out Jesus to answer his questions. This seems more plausible because his curiosity had been peaked by Jesus’ teaching. Nicodemus was “the” teacher of the Jews. See http://ref.ly/Jn3.10. (Literal translation.)

Nicodemus was a Pharisee. This means he lived by the strictest possible religious rules. Not all of the Pharisees were hypocrites. This is true despite what Jesus said in http://ref.ly/Mt23. From the discussion between Jesus and Nicodemus, we can infer that he was very sincere in his quest for the truth. Nicodemus knew that Jesus could answer his questions. Nicodemus’ nighttime visit allowed him to have an “uninterrupted conversation with the new Teacher “comes from God.”” [Bible Exposition Commentary (Be Series) – New Testament, Vol. 1 – Be Alive (John 1-12) – John Chapter 3 A Matter of Life and Death, p. 294] Nicodemus might have been representing the religious leaders. This is another supposition. Although he was a teacher of the law, he was spiritually blind.

Jesus used four illustrations to teach Nicodemus about salvation.

Birth (vv. 1-7) Jesus began with the universal knowledge of birth. The word translated “again” means “from above.” If anybody is expected to go to Heaven, they must experience the second birth. They have been born of this realm. When they surrender their life to Jesus, they must be born again–a supernatural birth. Because of Nicodemus’ spiritual blindness, he did not understand what Jesus was saying. This state of spiritual blindness is seen in other events when the hearer did not understand that Jesus meant spiritual instead of natural. The same is true today. People begin to speak of their natural heritage and their family religious heritage, their religious ceremonies, etc. Even if their relatives are born again believers, they cannot ride on the coattails of their relatives! It is every individual for themselves.

Jesus was patient with Nicodemus. He began where Nicodemus was in his shortened religious view. Nicodemus was born of water, which is the physical side. To be born again is to be born of the Spirit. Just as it takes two parents to bring forth a physical side, there are two parents to bring forth a spiritual birth. The Spirit of God http://ref.ly/Jn3.5, and the Word of God http://ref.ly/Jm1.18;

http://ref.ly/1P1.23-25. The Spirit of God takes the Word of God and, when the sinner believes, imparts the life of God! Do I hear an Amen?

Jesus was not teaching that the new birth comes through water baptism. The New Testament baptism is connected with death, not birth. No amount of physical water can effect a spiritual change in a person. The emphasis is on believing. See http://ref.ly/Jn3.14-21. Salvation comes through faith. Note Ephesians 2:8-9. The evidence lies in the witness of the Spirit. Note http://ref.ly/Ac10.43-48 and http://ref.ly/Ep1.13f.

Water baptism is certainly a part of our obedience to Christ and our witness for Christ http://ref.ly/Mt28.18-20 and http://ref.ly/Ac2.41. {I know that I am asking for trouble on this one!} What about the Old Testament saints, and what about the thief on the cross? They were not baptized. [Oops!]

Human birth involves travail http://ref.ly/Jn16.21. This is true about the birth that is from above. Jesus had to travail on the cross so that we might become members of the family of God http://ref.ly/Is53.11. Witnesses for those who are sinners travail in prayer as they seek to lead sinners to Christ. http://ref.ly/1Co4.15 and http://ref.ly/Ga4.19.

 

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