Summary: Merely knowing about the truth does not save, you must"know" the truth to be set free.
John 1:1-10, "There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemas, a ruler of the Jews: 2)The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto Him, Rabbi, we know thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. 3)Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4)Nicodemas saith unto Him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? 5)Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6)That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7)Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
Nicodemas was brought up as a Pharisee. He was taught the scriptures and the law. He became a ruler the Jewish ruling council, the Sanhedrin. So we see that not every one who sought Jesus was unlearned.
Around 430BC the prophetic word of God to Israel ceased. It ended with Malachi. There would be 400 years of silence and during this time the Pharisees were born. The Pharisees were conscientious about keeping the law, both written and oral. They pushed it to the limits though. It became more important to keep the law than God’s covenant. Keeping rules became more important than loving God or people. It was surprising that Nicodemas came to Jesus.
Nicodemas came by night probably because he was afraid of what the others in the Sanhedrin would say or do about it if they knew. Both Jesus and John the Baptist had condemned the Pharisees, Matthew 23, "Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrits!", Jesus had said. John called them a "generation of vipers".
Why did Nicodemas come to Jesus? Not to discuss the nation of Israel or Roman occupation. Nicodemas came to talk to Jesus about his own spiritual state.
This intelligent man, a wiseman, educated and ordained came to talk to one who’s wisdom far surpassed any man’s wisdom. Christ’s wisdom is from divine inspiration from God above. Christ is ordained with divine authority.
John 4:34, "Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work." John 6:38, "For I came down from heaven not to do mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me."
Nicodemas had all the questions. Jesus had all the answers.
It is simply not enough to know there is a God in heaven. Even that Jesus is the Son of God. Nor is it enough to pray, pay tithes, confess your sins, or go to church every Sunday. Jesus said, "Ye must be born again."
Doing good works, being baptized, saying good things, acting good in front of others, being faithful to attend church does not get you special favor with God. "Ye must be born again."
Nicodemas found out the awful truth. That what he had been taught to do, to say, and how he had been taught to live was wrong and not going to get him into heaven. It is impressive to hear people quote blocks of scripture. But the devil can do that! Read Genesis 3.