Summary: Let us look at the amazing things that Jesus said to this teacher of the Law and how this encounter with Jesus impacted his life. No man spoke like Jesus spoke, and Jesus greatly impacted those he encountered.
“Encounters with Jesus: A Teacher”
In Jesus’ life here on Earth he said and did amazing things. I believe that one of the most amazing things about Jesus’ ministry is the way in which he dealt with people here on Earth. He encountered in his short life all different type of people. He encountered Jews, Gentiles, and Samaritans. He encountered Pharisees, Sadducees and unbelievers. He encountered all different types of people. In each case that he came across a different type of person Jesus responded to them in an amazing way.
Over the next several weeks I want to look at the encounters with Jesus. I believe that in each of these encounters that Jesus had we can learn something and apply it to our lives. I believe that as we look at the people Jesus dealt with we will all see one of these people that is a little bit like we are. Early on in Jesus’ ministry he came across a man named Nicodemus, this is the encounter with Jesus that I want to look at today. I want too look at what Jesus said to this man. I want to look at how Jesus dealt with the religious elites of his day like Nicodemus.
I believe if there was one of the people that Jesus encountered that I am most like it would be Nicodemus. Nicodemus was a very religious man, he was a Pharisee. I love looking at the way in which Jesus dealt with those people who thought they were so religious. I think we are all a lot like Nicodemus. Sometimes we think we understand things, but we really do not.
We do not know a whole lot about Nicodemus, but I think that although he was ignorant of some things, his heart was in the right direction. I believe that he was a seeker of the truth in search of the savior. I always have pictured Nicodemus as a well respected Pharisee and teacher of the Law in Israel. He would have been very well known and very well respected. He would have been very well studied in the scriptures. He would have known the prophecies about the coming of the Messiah. He would have recognized that this man named Jesus fit the Old Testament description of Messiah. I believe that all the other Pharisees would talk with him about this man Jesus who was doing all these miracles and teaching that he was the son of God. They probably say around and mocked Jesus for what he was doing and who he claimed to be. The text does not tell us, but I believe that the day before Nicodemus came to Jesus he watched Jesus performing miracles, maybe he was in the temple when Jesus drove them out of the temple. I believe he saw him heal the blind and the crippled, I believe he heard Jesus speak to the crowds; I believe he saw the compassion that Jesus showed. I believe Nicodemus saw the love beaming from Jesus’ eyes. I believe Nicodemus saw that Jesus was different from any of the other people of his day. Then the text tells us that Nicodemus came to Jesus at night. I believe he did that because he was scared of the ridicule from the other Jews for coming to Jesus. I believe the whole day Nicodemus could not get this Jesus out of his mind. I believe he kept thinking that this man could be the savior of the world, so he came to Jesus to find out first hand.
Usually when Jesus encountered the Pharisees they tried to trap him by asking him tricky questions. One time they asked Jesus if they had to pay taxes to Caesar, another time they asked him about marriage and divorce. They would ask these questions trying to make him look bad, but when Nicodemus came to Jesus he came hungry for the Truth. He came wanting to know about Jesus. He came wanting to know if he was the long awaited Messiah. Nicodemus came searching and seeking after the Savior. Let us look and see how Jesus responded to this teacher of the law.
We all are a little bit like Nicodemus at times. We all want to know who Jesus is. We all want to know how to inherit eternal life. Let us look at Jesus’ response to this teacher of Israel.
Text: John 3:1-21
I believe that there are four things which Jesus said to this teacher of Israel that are especially profound and I believe these words still apply to us today.
I. You Must Be Born Again
One of the most profound comments that Jesus made to Nicodemus was that in order to see the Kingdom of God one must be born again. I believe this would have been a hard teaching for Nicodemus to accept for several reasons. First, is because he was a Pharisee that was so used to the Old Law that he probably had no concept of grace. He probably thought that Jesus would give him a list of things to do in order to be saved and he would do them all. The Pharisees were so bent on obeying the letter of the law that the missed the spirit of God’s commands. They thought they would be ok in the eyes of God if they held strictly to the scripture. The problem was they missed the main point. When Jesus told Nicodemus he must be born again he could not understand that meaning.