Summary: People were always coming to Jesus to receive something, but one of the leaders of the Pharisee's came to Jesus with a question that everyone needs to ask for themselves.
Open your Bibles to John 3. This morning we are going to continue with one of the things that we talked about last week and that is the word “believe.” Now this morning we are going to look at a conversation that Jesus had with a man named Nicodemus.
Now before we read from the scripture, let’s step back and see some details about this in the place in the Bible.
1. Who is the writer? John (the Beloved disciple)
2. What is he writing about? John writes about the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. We know the Gospel according to John is one of the four gospels. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Matthew, Mark and Luke are very similar, most of the stories and accounts of Jesus’ ministry happen in the same order, but the Gospel of John is different. It is believed that John wrote his gospel after the others were written, and even gave us some information that was important that Matthew, Mark, and Luke may have not written down. John’s main emphasis in his writing on the life and ministry of Jesus Christ was to show his deity, to show that he truly was God in the form of man, to show that Jesus may have come in flesh, but he was all God. This way very important, because as you will see today, Nicodemus goes from seeing Jesus as only a Teacher that was sent by God, to seeing that not only was he sent by God, but that he was God. And each of us will have to make our own mind up to this same question. Really, who was Jesus? A good man? A good teacher? Or is he God? Let’s read.
John 3:1-15 Conversation with Nicodemus
When you look at this conversation between Jesus & Nicodemus, you can see that Nicodemus was much different than some of the people that came to Jesus and spoke to him.
Who was Nicodemus? Verse 1 gives us the answer: “a man of the Pharisees, ruler of the Jews.” Who were these Pharisees? They were the religious leaders of the day. Now they did not have the power of the Government, which was Roman, but they had influence. They could put pressure on the government, and sometimes even force their will on them, as we see later in the crucifixion of Jesus.
As a Pharisee, you were very well informed of the Law of Moses, the Torah. The Torah was the Law that we see in the OT which included the 10 commandments but also over 600 other laws given by God. The Law was a set of guidelines given by God to his chosen people chosen people telling them how to live, how to worship, how to be forgiven for their sins. But as much as these Pharisees were well educated in the Law and the Scriptures, they had missed the most important thing, the Messiah. They’re eyes were closed that this man, was only a man. In their minds, they did not accept Jesus as God’s son, the Messiah. How did they see him? Well most of them thought he was a blasphemer. To say that he was the Messiah. There is no way. They could not open their eyes, and their hearts to see who he really was. They were all about making sure that everyone followed the Law, instead of looking for the promised Messiah.
Now I believe that Nicodemus was different, or maybe the best way to explain it was that the Holy Spirit was working on the heart of Nicodemus. You see while the other Pharisees were plotting to kill Jesus, Nicodemus was asking questions.
Many people in the people that approached Jesus were asking for Jesus to do something for them. Like Mary & Martha sending someone to him to help Lazarus, or the ten lepers who called out to Jesus from a distance to heal them, or the maned name Jarius who fell at Jesus’ feet to come and see his daughter…all of these people wanted for Jesus to do something for them, but Nicodemus, came with a question. This question could be the most important question every asked ever. It’s a question that was so important that God has preserved it over time to make sure that we know the answer. In fact, the way you answer this question in your own life, will determine your eternity.
So, verse 1 identifies Nicodemus as a Pharisee. And you all know that the Pharisees wanted to remove Jesus, and later in John and throughout the four Gospels we see that they were plotting to kill him. Look at verse 2, “this man came to Jesus by night.” Why would he come by night and not during the day? Because he didn’t want any of his Pharisee friends to know he was talking to Jesus. And notice what Nicodemus says…