VBS - Day 3 - Nicodemus & John's Responses to Jesus

John 3:1-22 - Jesus with Nicodemus

John 3:1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:

à Nicodemus was a Pharisee. However, unlike most Pharisees, Nicodemus was actually curious as to what was so intriguing about Jesus. There was something about Him that made Nicodemus sneak out away from everyone else's knowledge in the middle of the night in order to find out.

John 3:2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

à Nicodemus believed that Jesus was from God (contrast w/ Luke 7:33-34).

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
John 3:4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?
John 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
John 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
John 3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
John 3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
John 3:9 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?
John 3:10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?
John 3:11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.
John 3:12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?

à Nicodemus did not yet fully understand what Jesus was saying. He was trying to put Jesus' spiritual teachings into natural thinking. To be 'born again' requires that the natural man be put to death and the spirit be made alive. This can be done only through Jesus.

John 3:13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.

à Jesus is here claiming to be the Messiah.

John 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
John 3:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

à This refers back to a time when the people of Israel (cf. Numbers 21:4-9) were bitten by snakes as a curse for murmuring against God in the wilderness. The people would have to look on a serpent that Moses was commanded to make, and whoever looked on that image was healed. This image was symbolic of Jesus - we're bitten by the serpent (Satan) who tempts us with sin, and though it has the penalty of death associated (cf. Romans 5; Romans 6:23), Jesus is the one on whom we can look to be healed and cleansed of the sin in our lives.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

à God's purpose of sending Jesus into the world was so that we could have everlasting life through Him. He desired to reconcile us to Himself, and through Jesus, this can be accomplished. In the Old Testament, sacrifices had to be made continually for sins, but Jesus was our passover - our literal lamb sacrifice once and for all. However, on the other end, we can end up under condemnation if we reject Jesus.

John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
John 3:20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
John 3:21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

à Our natural state is to reject Jesus and accept the darkness which is in the world. We need to seek the light and be in the light, because otherwise, we will remain under condemnation.

John 7:45-53 - Pharisees' prideful response concerning Jesus

John 7:45 Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him?
John 7:46 The officers answered, Never man spake like this man.
John 7:47 Then answered them the Pharisees, Are ye also deceived?
John 7:48 Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him?
John 7:49 But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed.
John 7:50 Nicodemus saith unto them, (he that came to Jesus by night, being one of them,)
John 7:51 Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth?
John 7:52 They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.
John 7:53 And every man went unto his own house.

à Note that the Pharisees figured that they were always correct, even though they were denying their promised Messiah (cf. 7:48). Their mentality was -- we don't believe Him, so you are stupid to believe otherwise. However, this time, the legalistic Pharisees were wrong.

Nicodemus stood up in defense of Jesus, though his plea wasn't effective. However, Jesus did need to die, though guiltless, in order to fulfill His ultimate purpose this first time on earth.

John 19:38-40

John 19:38 And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave [him] leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.
John 19:39 And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound [weight].
John 19:40 Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.

à Did Nicodemus become born again? There's no explicit evidence in Scripture that he did accept Jesus, but there's certainly fruit of his belief or respect in his giving Jesus a proper burial in the midst of a rejoicing Pharisee crowd, as well as in his defense of Jesus in John 7.

John 20:1-10 - John and Peter at Jesus' empty tomb

John 20:1 The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.
John 20:2 Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.
John 20:3 Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.
John 20:4 So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.
John 20:5 And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in.
John 20:6 Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie,
John 20:7 And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.
John 20:8 Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.
John 20:9 For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.
John 20:10 Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.

à Note John 20:8 - John went in, saw the empty tomb, and saw that the garments were neatly put away. They entered into a realization of the truth like never before - Jesus had risen from the dead.

This carried over into boldness to speak of the Gospel (see also Acts 1 & 2). Note that John is one of the disciples who stated, " For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard" (Acts 4:20).

Sometimes, we may have burning questions about Jesus, and it may be unpopular to have them. Look at Nicodemus - he sneaked out in the middle of the night, likely so no Pharisees would see him, to see Jesus. Nicodemus was at the least curious, and I do believe that there are signs that he came to know the Lord personally as Savior. John, on the other hand, expressly believed, and there's no question that he was one who called himself 'Christian.'

But Nicodemus seeked the one who claimed to be the Son of God, the Messiah, and the only way to God, and if you have yet to do so, please seek and find Jesus. One day, He will also return, so keep watch and follow Him in the meantime.