Summary: Nicodemus Visits Jesus at night
The Night Caller
It was late at night a knock on the door. We do not know why Jesus was alone, this was during the time of his great popularity we would have thought that some of his friends might be with him, they may have gone for food or most likely he had sent them out because he knew a visitor was on the way to see him.
The door is opened and here stands a Pharisee. We might close our eyes and imagine a long robe with a colorful border at the bottom. The larger the border the more pious the person wearing it was to appear.
He is acquainted with Jesus in reputation only. He probably searches for words to break the ice. He blurts out “we know you are teacher sent from God because no man could do the miracles that you do evcept God be with him.”
We almost want to help ole Nic out by saying get to the point tell Jesus why you have come so late in the day. Some have speculated that being an important Pharisee and a ruler in the Sanhedrin he may have had a busy schedule. Some have felt because Jesus was always in the midst of a crowd during the day this may have been the only time he could get to him.
Others have ventured that he feared the criticizm of the other rulers caused him to travel under the cloak of darkness. After all the larger percentage of the Pharisees and especially the rulers thought Jesus was their enemy and they wanted rid of him. This would be my thought.
I. The Pharisee: “religion incarnate”
Several times we have looked at the Pharisees in Jesus day. They were extremely religious going theough the motions that impressed those around them and of course they probably thought that God surely would be glad that he had such good of servants.
One of the Pharisees that had gone to the temple at the time a publican had gone in. the scripture said, “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.” Luke 18:11-12
I don’t think this man was lying about his life, he thought he was doing pretty darn good. They made a fair showing of actually living what they considered a good moral life. When we read his description of himself we are prone to ask, “Where can we find Baptists that put forth this kind of effort?”
From this side of the cross and with the holy Bible to lead we know that Jesus branded them as hypocrites, however I believe if we had lived during that time we would have thought they were great servants of the most high God. They looked like servants of God, or at least what men of that day thought they should look. Certainly they talked like the servants that men thought them to be.
Almost all of them wore a phylactery around their head or upon their upper arm. This was a small leather case that was bound either around their heads hanging down above their eyes or upon their upper arm near their heart. Inside of the leather case was enhoused one of the laws, saying to those that seen them that their heart and their mind was totally surrendered to God.
So with all of this said, what is the problem?
II. The Problem: “His Adamic nature”
As I said, the Pharisee thought he was the best of God’s servants and the people believed that also. The problem was that God did not believe they were near as good as they thought they were. When the “christened one of God” that is Jesus the Christ, unloaded on them in Matt 23:2-7, “Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat:
All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,
And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.”
Did you ever have a pet that you though was almost human? Some dogs seem to be so intelligent they obey the commands of the owner. They mind better than the children. When the owner calls they come immediately, they roll over and play dead on command. They are never demanding, they are completely satisfied with the chew toy you give them.