The “New Birth” is the theme for the 3rd chapter of John and ought to be the theme of our lives as well. British evangelist George Whitefield once wrote a letter in the 1700’s to inventor and statesman Benjamin Franklin writing, “I find that you grow more and more famous in the learned world. As you have made such progress in investigating the mysteries of electricity, I humbly urge you to give diligent heed to the mystery of the “new birth”. Everyone today is familiar with the term “born again”, it has become so popular that it is used for all kinds of situations that have nothing to do with the way the New Testament uses it. But what about the man that Jesus made His famous request to, Nicodemus? In John’s gospel chapter 3 verses 1-2 we learn several key things about this man with the most famous Bible verse as part of his story. Three words come to mind in describing Nicodemus: religious, rich, and ruler but put yourself in Nicodemus’ sandals, he didn’t know he was talking with the Son of God he had just heard and saw this thirty-year-old Carpenter and came with some questions. John mentions two things about Nicodemus:
- Who he was: Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a ruler of the Jews. He was a member of the Sanhedrin, the council of seventy men who ran the religious affairs of the nation and who had religious authority over any Jewish person anywhere in the world. These men spent their lives studying the Ten Commandments and applying them to situations of life. It is amazing that he would come to Jesus at all, because the Pharisees regarded themselves as superior to other men. His coming at night was a cautious inquiry but remember he came when others didn’t just to investigate Jesus.
- What he said: John tells us that he began his word with a courteous introduction. “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.” Nicodemus’ statement has four points about it that reveal more about him then it does Jesus:
- “Rabbi”: He calls Jesus “my teacher”! This is a huge declaration for a Pharisee to make; clearly he was impressed by Jesus words and actions.
- “We know”: This statement reveals that he was not the only person amongst the Pharisees that had been so impressed but he was the only one who dared to investigate.
- “You are a teacher come from God”: Nicodemus, broke away from his presumptions and personal prejudices and entertained the possibility that this man Jesus had been sent by God to teach the nation.
- “For no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him”: Nicodemus was weighing Jesus as being a teacher from God not because some one-time act but a continual string of words and works. Though the crowd recognized the possibility of Jesus being the Messiah it didn’t move them to appropriate the truth Jesus taught to their lives. But here we see that those words and works did lead Nicodemus to investigate further.
Hey saints before a person ever becomes a believer in Jesus they first must become a seeker of Jesus. I pray we never stop coming to Him to investigate just who He is and that the mystery of Him will continue to draw us to the Majesty of Him! We could all use a little more of the inquisitive nature of Nicodemus in our lives!