Summary: God has a plan for every person by which every person interacts with God Himself.
:1—“There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.”
:2—“This man came to Jesus by night and 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.”
“Nicodemus”—A Pharisee—Traditionalist/Influenced(by others)/Student(of Bible)
What kind of a man was Nicodemus?—Pharisee—Respected Ruler—
“Ruler”—Sanhedrin(Council of the Seventy)—Controlled &/or set legal precedence for all Jewish civil & religious affairs—Judiciary, Legislative & Executive body.
Jn. 19:38-39—“And after these things Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; & Pilate granted permission. He came therefore, & took away His body. And Nicodemus came also, who had first come to Him by night; bringing a mixture of myrrh & aloes, about a hundred pounds weight.”
Why did Nicodemus approach Jesus in the manner he did?
•Why by night?—
Probably, Nic did not want to be seen by the other Council members as seriously approaching Jesus for answers.
•Why did Nicodemus recognize Jesus as a Rabbi?—“Rabbi”—Title of honor & high respect. Nic recognized a lack of arrogance in Jesus’ manner, as well as a godly ‘authority’ in Jesus’ teaching.
•Why did Nicodemus recognize Jesus as a teacher?—Nicodemus saw good reason to hear Jesus out. Nicodemus had experienced nothing in Jesus teaching that was odd or out of place regarding God’s revealed word. However, Nicodemus knew that Jesus’ word did NOT sit comfortably within the context of men’s interpretations & expansions of God’s word! So thru that, Nicodemus reasoned that Jesus was sent by God to teach.
•Why did Nicodemus drawn by Jesus’ signs?—Nicodemus recognized Jesus’ manner, authority, & miracles—for the signs that they were—signs of God.
*Nicodemus didn’t completely understand God’s Plan as it encompassed Jesus, but he did recognize God at work in Jesus’ life.
:3—“Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Nicodemus’ statement to Jesus was intended to draw an answer from Jesus.
•Why did Jesus respond to Nicodemus’ statement as He did?
Jesus knew that Nicodemus had perceived some aspect of the Kingdom of God thru Jesus’ life, miracles, & teaching. Jesus knew that Nicodemus’ assessment was only partial, & drew his attention, because Jesus’ manner & message presented a challenge to Nicodemus’ own belief system. Jesus knew that though He was personally interesting & intriguing to Nicodemus at that time, Nicodemus was still limited to head knowledge.
“One”—Anyone regardless of race, creed, nationality, religion, etc...
“Born Again”—‘Born from above’ or ‘Twice born’
“See”—Lay eyes upon—Perceive with the senses.
“Kingdom of God”
What is this Kingdom of God?—All that is within God’s free control.
Jesus tells Nicodemus with absolute authority, that without being “born” from above, a person has no power to perceive “the kingdom of God.” Thus the perceptions of the Pharisees—conservatively driven legalists, serving & directing the people with Nic—have largely been limited to human reasonings. They can thereby not rightly understand the very things of God of which they claim to have a grasp.
Here we receive the revelation that “unless” a person is “born” in a different way than they have experienced—“again” or more properly, ‘from above’—then it is utterly impossible for such a person to “see” the “kingdom” to which God invites them!
•The Greek behind the term translated as “again”, actually more accurately designates that which is ‘from above.’
Of course this term—“born” ‘from above’—carries with it, the unavoidable implication & intention that God has created humanity in such a way that every individual is capable of experiencing a ‘second birth’ of sorts. So there must be another “birth” or an “again”! That is, IF a person want to “see”, wants to grasp all that is entailed in “the kingdom of God” then they must be “born again”!
So for every individual who is naturally born—physically, once, from the earth—there exists the potential for every one of them to “see the kingdom of God”! But only if they willingly experience a second birth(“again”), which is ‘from above.’
There must be a point in one’s life where you come to grips with your sinful nature...surrenders it to God, & thus gains insight to previously unperceived but ever present things of spiritual importance.
It is also obvious here that IF personal inattention to spiritual matters makes it is impossible for a certain person &/or certain people to “see” “the kingdom of God”—that is, people who are NOT “born again”—Then as a consequence, neither is it possible for such a person, such people, to “enter” God’s kingdom(:5).
So God’s people are not here to satisfy the reasonings of men who sit on Boards & Committees & bark orders, but rather we are here—we are granted life on this earth— to satisfy God’s desire thru Christ Jesus His only-begotten Son. He is the One by whom we--believers, trusters, “born again”-ers, God’s people, true Christians-- not only “see”, but “enter”(:5) & take part in “the kingdom of God”(Mat. 6:33)!