Summary: This message deals with Jesus meeting with Nicodemus in John chapter 3:1-21

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The Person of Jesus series

Jesus – the way of salvation

John 3:1-21

CHCC: March 14, 2010


Today we’re going to be talking about a very religious man. So I though we’d start by examining how very religious people tend to get things done. We’ll look at a study that was done on how many (of various religious brands) it takes to change a light bulb.

* First, how many Charismatics does it take to change a light bulb? Only one. And his hands already in the air.

* Pentecostals: Ten. One to change the bulb and nine to pray against the spirit of darkness.

* Presbyterians: None. Lights will go off and on at predestined times.

* Roman Catholic: None. Candles only.

* Baptists: At least 15. One to change the light bulb and three committees to approve the change and decide who brings the potato salad.

* Episcopalians: Three. One to call the electrician, one to mix the drinks and one to talk about how much better the old bulb was.

* Unitarians: We choose not to make a statement either in favor of or against the need for a light bulb. However, you are invited to write a poem or compose a modern dance about your light bulb for the next Sunday service, in which we will explore a number of light bulb traditions including incandescent, fluorescent, three-way, long-life and tinted, all of which are equally valid paths to luminescence.

* Lutherans: None. Lutherans don’t believe in change.

* And for the Amish: ---What’s a light bulb?

The highly religious man we meet in chapter 3 of John is a Pharisee named Nicodemus. He’s not just your “garden-variety” Pharisee --- he’s a member of the elite Jewish ruling council.

I’m sure it made a big impression on Jesus’ disciples when Nicodemus showed up one night and asked to speak with Jesus. It would be like Billy Graham, or maybe Supreme Court Justice John Roberts, coming to see a "rooky" youth minister.

We have to stop and ask ourselves why Nicodemus came to see Jesus under cover of darkness. It would have been easy to make a day-time appointment with him. Nicodemus may have come secretly at night to avoid being seen by the other Pharisees. It’s also possible that he came at night because that’s when he could have a long, private conversation with Jesus.

I get the impression that Nicodemus had a genuine interest in this new young teacher. He addressed Jesus as “Rabbi,” and he told Jesus, “We know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him." John 3:2

I’m sure Nicodemus felt like he was being extremely gracious to show Jesus such respect. But if he had known who he was really talking to, he could have come up with better titles than merely, “Rabbi.” Think about the other titles Jesus has already been given in the gospel of John. John first presented Jesus as the incarnate Word of God. John the .Baptist introduced Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. God spoke at Jesus’ baptism and said, “This is my son in whom I am well pleased.” Calling Jesus “rabbi” seems kind of lame in comparison!

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