Summary: 1 of 2. Jesus’ encounter with Nicodemus yielded the essentials of being born again. What is essential to a new beginning? 6 concessions essential to a new beginning are...
A NEW BEGINNING-I—John 3:1-21
New Years Day is about the beginning of something new.
It is a harbinger of a time filled with potential...
Of possibly doing things differently & better—particularly if last year was a difficult one.
It is also the start of an extension of last year’s joys & victories & a celebration of things done right & well, a time of surrender to the Lord.
For the Christian it is a time of growing closer to God, deeper in prayer, more faithful in service, more dedicated to His direction, more committed to a knowledge of God’s word.
Jesus’ encounter with Nicodemus yielded the essentials of being born again.
Being born again is essential to God’s plan.
What is essential to a new beginning?
6 concessions essential to a new beginning.
‘Concession’—Something surrendered or given up
1—A concession essential to a new beginning is...
Explanation: (:1-2) Successful
:1—“There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.”
John tells us that there existed a certain man—who was of a sect of Judaism known as the “Pharisees.” Nicodemus was his name. Nicodemus was of some influence as he was “a ruler of the Jews.” His influence was one of spiritual import as well as civic, seeing as the Sanhedrin(rulers) spiritual matters encouraged, formed & enforced civic policy. Judiciary, Legislative & Executive body.
Nicodemus was “a ruler of the Jews” who held to the Pharisaic tradition. He came to Jesus representing the sect of the Pharisees.
“Pharisees”—Farisaiov— ‘A sect that seems to have started after the Jewish exile. In addition to OT books the Pharisees recognized in oral tradition a standard of belief & life. They sought for distinction & praise by outward observance of external rites & by outward forms of piety, & such as ceremonial washings, fastings, prayers, & alms giving; &, comparatively negligent of genuine piety, they prided themselves on their fancied good works. They held strenuously to a belief in the existence of good & evil angels, & to the expectation of a Messiah; & they cherished the hope that the dead, after a preliminary experience either of reward or of penalty in Hades, would be recalled to life by him, & be requited each according to his individual deeds. In opposition to the usurped dominion of the Herods & the rule of the Romans, they stoutly upheld the theocracy & their country’s cause, & possessed great influence with the common people....They were bitter enemies of Jesus & his cause; & were in turn severely rebuked by Him for their avarice, ambition, hollow reliance on outward works, & affection of piety in order to gain popularity.’—Thayer
*READ—Concerning Pharisees—Mat. 23:2-3; 4-12; 13-17; 23-28; 33.
On “a ruler of the Jews”—Joseph of Arimathea was also:
Lk. 23:50-51—“Now behold, there was a man named Joseph, a council member, a good and just man. He had not consented to their decision and deed. He was from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who himself was also waiting for the kingdom of God.”
Both Nicodemus & Joseph of Arimathea(“a disciple of Jesus”) would take responsibility for burying Jesus’ body(Jn. 38-42).
“Nicodemus”—Nikodhmov—Nicodemus = "conqueror"—A member of the Sanhedrin. Strong—Victorious among his people; Nicodemus, an Israelite:-- Nicodemus.
“Ruler”—arcwn—1) A ruler, commander, chief, leader.
:2—“This man came to Jesus by night & 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.””
There came a point in time when this same Nicodemus approached Jesus personally one-on-one. He approached Jesus in a manner quite unlike Jesus’ other encounters with Pharisees, which were generally maliciously condescending.
He came by night probably due to the need for secrecy &/or because his duties of the day were done.
Nicodemus looked upon Jesus as a “Rabbi,” even though He had no formal training. Nic. identified himself with the Pharisees using “we” to let Jesus know that they(at least of Nic’s ilk within the Pharisees) considered Him a “teacher.” The Pharisees(“we”) recognized that Jesus came from God, but only as a teacher. They knew this because the signs which He did at the Passover, glorified God.
They also considered Him as One who had “come from God.” Their conclusion having been reached primarily from observing Jesus’ “signs.” They concluded that Jesus‘ “signs” were indeed that... because the signs Jesus did were obviously unique indicators of God’s being “with” Him.
Nicodemus assumed he knew the “signs” of the presence of God. Didn’t understand God’s Plan completely but he did recognize God at work in Jesus’ life.
Jn. 14:11—““Believe Me that I am in the Father & the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.”
“Night”—nux—"Night" (literally or figuratively):-- (mid-)night.