Summary: Questions Jesus asked - Jesus and Nicodemus. PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email: email@example.com
A Man Named Nicodemus:
• His Career.
• His Faith.
• His Make-up (Character).
A Discourse With Jesus.
• The Greek philosopher Socrates was said to be wise,
• Not because he knew all the answers,
• But because he knew how to ask the right questions.
• TRANSITION: Jesus knew how to ask the right questions.
• As you read through the gospel accounts again and again;
• Jesus asked insightful, perceptive, discerning questions.
• These questions caused his listeners to focus on the important issues of life.
In this new series of studies:
• We are looking at some of the questions Jesus asked in the gospels:
• Tonight’s question is found in John chapter 3 verse 10:
• “‘You are Israel’s teacher,’ said Jesus, ‘and do you not understand these things?”
• Jesus confronts a religious/political leader called Nicodemus;
• Out of the four gospel writers;
• Only John records this conversation;
• And from what is discussed we get what many call the greatest verse in the Bible,
• John chapter 3 verse 16.
A Profile of the Man:
(1). His Career:
• Nicodemus was a Pharisee (vs 1).
• In the days of Nicodemus there were about 6,000 of them.
• The name 'Pharisee' meant 'separated one '.
• They were ordinary Jews and NOT Priests.
• They were more like politicians – they held the power!
• The movement started out good in about 135 BC,
• The idea was that people could be dedicated, separate to God,
• But very quickly the movement degenerated into an exclusive movement,
• That actually separated Pharisees from ordinary people.
• At the time of Jesus, most Pharisees were very impressive to look at:
• In that they were great at keeping rules and regulations and being pious.
• In fact they were experts at being religious.
• i.e. Pharisees fasted twice a week
• i.e. Pharisees tithed ten percent of their income.
• i.e. Pharisees prayed three times a day.
• i.e. Pharisees were regular attenders at the synagogue/temple.
• i.e. Pharisees had very high moral standards,
• i.e. Pharisees were strict Sabbatarian’s.
• i.e. Pharisees wore distinctive robes, which marked them out from the average person.
• i.e. Pharisees would not eat with non-Pharisees.
• i.e. Pharisees diligently studied the scriptures.
• They would not just reverence every word of the sacred text, but every letter of it!
• At the time of Jesus:
• The Pharisees had deteriorated into an exclusive religious sect;
• And sadly one of the key verses about the Pharisees in the New Testament is:
Quote: Matthew chapter 25 verses 5-6:
“Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels
on their garments long; they love the place of honour at banquets and the most important seats
in the synagogues.”
• For those of us who are Bible-believing Christians it is a healthy reminder:
• Not to fall to the temptation of outward show of religion,
• At the expense of inner reality and holiness of life.
• Having the truth, loving the truth, believing the truth;
• Is never a substitute for not practicing the ‘spirit’ of the truth!
Note: Two things:
(a). Verse 1 calls him: “A member of the Jewish ruling council”
• Nicodemus was a member of the Sanhedrin,
• Which was the Parliament of the Jewish people:
• The Sanhedrin was a court of seventy men,
• Who had jurisdiction over every Jew in the world.
• And so they would be the equivalent of a top, powerful member of parliament.
(b). Verse 10: "You are Israel's teacher"
• That statement indicates that Nicodemus had a special status in religious circles,
• Not only was he a Pharisee, but a Pharisee at the top of his profession,
• He was ‘The Teacher’
• Therefore he commanded respect and had a special authority.
(2). His Faith.
• Pharisees believed and taught that;
• Quote: "All Israel has a share in the age to come".
• They made much of the fact that they were;
• The children of Abraham in the physical sense,
• They and they alone were Abraham's true descendants.
• And they believed that:
• Those who were born physically from Abraham's line (Jews)
• Had automatic rights into the kingdom of God.
• For a Gentile (Non-Jew) to know God:
• He had to be converted to J Judaism,
• Go through a process of becoming a Jew.
• But for Jews that was not a problem,
• Because; ''All Israel has a share in the age to come".
Quote from Pharisaical writings:
• ''Abraham sits at the gates of Gehenna (Hell),