Summary: Jesus explains to Nicodemus the mandatory requirement for entrance into the kingdom of God.

Scripture Reading: John 3:1-17

Message: “The Nightly Visitor”

Text: This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him” (John 3:2).

1. Who was this man who came to Jesus by night?

2. Why did this man come to Jesus by night?

3. What was the unspoken question on the mind of this man?

4. What was Jesus’ response?

5. How did this man accept Jesus’ response?

1. Who was this man who came to Jesus by night?

Scripture says that “There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews” (John 3:1). At this time in history there were three prominent societies of Judaism. There were the Pharisees, Sadducees and the Essenes. Of these three groups, the Pharisees were the most influential.

Nicodemus was not only a Pharisee, but he was also a member of the ruling council. The ruling council was called the Sanhedrin. The Pharisees were not really fond of Jesus because Jesus often criticized them for being hypocrites. The Pharisees accused Jesus of being under the power of Satan. When Jesus healed the demon-possessed man who was blind and mute (Matthew 12:22), the Pharisees responded by saying, “It is only Beelzebub, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons” (Matthew 12:24).

Jesus responded (Matthew 12:34) by saying, “You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good” (Matthew 12:34)?

Remember, we said that Nicodemus was a Pharisee. Being a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin, might lead us to believe that Nicodemus would follow the dictates of the group. If you and I were members of a group or organization, we would be expected to follow the standards set forth by that organization. We would be expected to back up the views and opinions of the organization.

I believe Nicodemus did follow the thoughts and ideas of the Pharisees, but I also believe he could think deeper and see beyond the superficial vision of the other Pharisees. Nicodemus was an educated man as were the other Pharisees, but Nicodemus had a searching and challenging mind. Nicodemus knew that Jesus was very special because he said, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him” (v. 2).

The other Pharisees had a closed mind toward Jesus. Nicodemus had an open mind that was anxious to be filled with knowledge about the kingdom of God. Since Jesus was different, Nicodemus knew that if he went to Jesus, Jesus could provide the answer to the question he had in mind.

2. Why did Nicodemus come to Jesus by night?

Nicodemus was an educated man, but he also had common sense. Nicodemus had to be cautious because his fellow Pharisee friends did not share his views. Perhaps he was afraid of what his friends would think of his visit to Jesus. Maybe Nicodemus’ friends would think he was betraying them. Nicodemus was a member of the Pharisees, but he was also an individualist. He wanted to do a first-hand investigation. Nicodemus was not interested in what other people thought or what the other Pharisees were saying, he wanted to find out for himself. He realized that God was still teaching men and God’s voice could still be heard if men would just listen.

Many times we are like the Pharisees. We have thoughts and opinions because of what others have told us. We tend to have closed minds when we are faced with new ideas and conveniences. We are afraid to open our mouths and voice our opinions. We are hesitant to talk to people we meet about our Lord and Savior. We lose many opportunities to witness because of fear what others might think about us. Our thoughts and our ideas are kept within us. When God speaks to our hearts we often ignore his voice. We tend to forget who is really in control of our lives.

Nicodemus was ready to get his question answered first-hand, so he approached Jesus at night. This was his opportunity to meet Jesus face to face. His question would be answered from the most reliable source. Nicodemus personally went to Jesus with an open mind and an open heart.

We, too, must personally go to Jesus with an open mind and open heart. We can be educated or uneducated. We can be rich or poor. We can be white or non-white. We can live in a big house or a shack. We can be employed or unemployed. We can have many material possessions or no material possessions. We can approach him in the day or in the night. It does not make any difference to Jesus. The important thing is that we personally go to him and let him teach us about the truth of God the Father. We can be assured that he will accept us with open arms.

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