Summary: This scripture from John includes one of the most well-known conversations in the New Testament. It was the conversation between Nicodemus and Jesus. This moment recorded for us by John captures some very important insights into our Christian faith and
This morning, I would like to start out with a little saying that I read this last week. It goes like this...‘Some people change their ways when they see the light, others only when they feel the heat.’ (Repeat).
Our scripture today from John includes one of the most well-known conversations in the New Testament. It was the conversation between Nicodemus and Jesus. This moment recorded for us by John captures some very important insights into our Christian faith and beliefs. So important, that if not understood correctly by the believer, it could mean the difference between perishing or eternal life…literally, this is a conversation about life and death.
Bringing a soul…a person into the light and realization of eternal life…bringing them to believe in the spiritual…bringing them to the point of being ‘reborn’ is a miraculous moment in time. Stepping from this world into visualizing and believing in the next world is a time when it is said that ‘angels sing and the heavens rejoice’.
And yet, it’s like bringing a horse to water…you can’t make him drink. Bringing a soul to the edge of believing in the unseen is one thing, but convincing him to let go of pure reason and to step out in faith regarding unseen spiritual truths is another. This is exactly where we find Jesus and Nicodemus this morning…in a struggle to believe and understand.
As we approach our Easter celebration this year, this very question of believing in the passion of Christ and his death and resurrection and all that it means is again before us. It is a time for those who believe to reaffirm their faith and experience its amazing details again, and it is also an opportunity for others to accept Christ for what he said he was…the Messiah, the Savior of mankind, the very Son of God…and then to become believers themselves.
Believing is a process…seeing and believing is not usually a one-time event. It is more often a process that we go through. We all need time before we can see and understand spiritual truths.
What starts this process in our lives? You might remember when you first heard about Jesus. Maybe it was through your family, a Sunday School teacher, a crisis event or it could be numerous experiences that finally brought you to believe.
It is said that our search for God and His search for us meet at windows in our everyday experience, but we must learn to look with more than just our eyes and listen with more than just our ears.
I have been attending a men’s Bible study on Thursday nights and it has been very interesting as each of us share our understanding of the scriptures.
One of the men is this group, of whom I highly respect, shared an experience of attending the death of a close friend. This time of being present at the passing of his friend has brought him to a point of questioning …questioning and believing in the afterlife and the teachings of Jesus regarding eternity. I could tell he was in the midst of processing what he experienced in regard to the promises told in the scriptures.
I also attended a meeting this week with a man who is a professed Christian. He admitted to me during this meeting that he was not sure if he believed in life after death.
I only speak of these two men to illustrate that even though we might claim to the world that we are Christian, there are some that are still questioning and processing their faith and what they truly believe.
And Nicodemus is also questioning and trying to process what he has heard and seen of this man, Jesus.
We’ve all heard this scripture before about this high ranking Pharisee, Nicodemus coming to Jesus at night to ask him questions. And really, it is a remarkable moment as we realize the meaning of all that was said in the course of the meeting. This morning, I would like to examine the words of Jesus, so that we too can be instructed by the ‘Rabbi Jesus’ and understand more clearly as believers and followers of Christ in what he is saying to us.
We first must understand that in our scripture this morning, Jesus had just performed many miracles at the Passover in Jerusalem and many people professed to believe in Jesus, but Jesus knew that their faith was not genuine. But Nicodemus was an exception. The Lord recognized in him an earnest desire to know the truth.
Nicodemus was scholar. He was a Pharisee and he was trained and he lived by the principles of the Pharisees. He was a teacher. He was a ruler of the Jews, a member of the great Sanhedrim, a senator who was knowledgeable regarding the political life of Judea, a man of authority in Jerusalem and considered one of the wealthiest men in the city.