"Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; this man came to Him by night, and said to Him, "Rabbi, we know that you come from God as a teacher ; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with Him." Jesus, answered and said to him. "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." JH 3:1-3
Nicodemus is one of those characters in the bible that we don't know a lot about but he does play an important part in the crucifixion of Christ. It was Joseph of Arimethea and Nicodemus who went to Pilot and got permission to take Jesus body from the cross and lay Him in the tomb. He is mentioned again in Chapter 7 when with a very mild mention that their law did not convict a man until they knew what he was about. The other members of the Sanhedrin retorted, "are you a Galilean? No prophet comes out of Galilee." Nicodemus is the only voice raised in His defence at anytime, not a very strong voice but it took more courage than we might think. Nicodemus had everything to lose and nothing to gain. Coming to Jesus at any time would have brought suspicion and condemnation from the other leaders. Knowing the stakes, Nicodemus was cautious. He was drawn to Jesus and He knew Jesus was a man of God. He had seen miracles and listened to Jesus teach. The term, Rabbi, was one of respect. He came wanting to learn more.
He, Nicodemus, did not have time to address a question to Jesus, He, Jesus, had devined what Nicodemus really wanted to know. How does one enter the kingdom of God? I have no doubt that the answer he received was anything but what he expected, "be born again."
I am almost convinced that Nicodemus thought for a moment that Jesus was having him on, mocking him. It's revealed by Nicodemus retort, "How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mothers womb and be born, can he? I can hear the chagrin in the last two words of his reply, "can he?" I have the feeling that Nicodemus was offended, a man in his position, coming to Jesus by night and then to be mocked by a carpenter's son from Galilee. "Did Jesus not know who he was and how much he had risked?" Of course ,He knew and that was why he set Nicodemus up at the first instant for even more hard truth when He answered him, " Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water (Repentance.) and the spirit (The Holy Spirit.), he can not enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, "You must be born again." The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit."
I will continue in my next blog.