Nicodemus is a well known figure in the gospel of John. Nicodemus famously met Jesus at night and the story that is recorded includes the well-known salvation verse, John 3:16.
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John Chapter 3
In John 3 we read,
“Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.’ Jesus answered him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?’ Jesus answered, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter 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 its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.’ John 3:1-10 ESV
This passage proceeds what is likely the most often quoted verse in the Scriptures,
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 ESV
Nicodemus, the Spiritual Leader
In my post entitled “Jesus Understood The Big Picture,” we learned that the spiritual leaders of His time didn’t understand Jesus’ teachings. And yet, there were some who truly wanted to do so. Nicodemus was one such leader.
As we read, he declared to Jesus,
“We know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.”
Did this mean he had a clearer understanding of Jesus’ teachings than his colleagues? Perhaps—as evidenced by his visit—but when Jesus told him he must be born again, Nicodemus’ mind turned immediately to physical birth. How could one return to his mother’s womb?
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Jesus Questions Nicodemus’s Understanding
As the Lord continued to teach this leader, He asked,
“Are you a teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things?”
Unlike the other spiritual leaders, Nicodemus didn’t resent Jesus and the challenges He presented. Nicodemus sought spiritual understanding and insight.
There are many things we can learn from this leader of Israel. He humbled himself and went to Jesus. He acknowledged who Jesus was; he didn’t try to find an alternative explanation or ignore the truth. He asked questions when he didn’t understand what the Lord was saying. He didn’t resent the Jesus’ challenge to him but asked more questions. And after Jesus died on the cross, Nicodemus accompanied Joseph of Arimathea and requested that they be given permission to bury Him. Nicodemus’ faith wasn’t fleeting; he was committed to Jesus for the long haul.
We must not become arrogant or proud, even if the Lord raises us up to a position of spiritual leadership. Even though we will not understand all spiritual truth this side of eternity, we must live up to what God has revealed to us and daily seek deeper understanding. We must walk in humility and persevere in faith.
Learn More About Nicodemus:
Stephanie is a freelance writer and a contributor to our Christian internet radio station, HopeStreamRadio. Read and hear more from Steph Nickel on the contributor’s page or at Steph Nickel’s Eclectic Interests.
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Images courtesy of:
Jesus and Nicodemus on a Rooftop – Henry Ossawa Tanner
Dandelion – blickpixel
Businessman – Goumbik
Man in Doorway – fancycrave1