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).
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.
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.
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the
Son of man be lifted up:
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.
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.
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.
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and
men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
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
Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they
said unto them, Why have ye not brought him?
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.
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.
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
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.
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.