John Chapter 3 – Jesus And Nicodemus
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Reading The Gospel of John
I love reading the gospel of John for many reasons, one of which is the precious dialogue recorded there between the Lord Jesus and the people he interacts with. Whole chapters of John’s book allow us to be a fly on the wall during one of the Great Physician’s diagnosis with his sick patients. The gospel of John shows us what it would be like to observe God in conversation with His creation.
Jesus And Nicodemus in John Chapter 3
What do we learn through the conversation Jesus had with Nicodemus in John chapter three? First of all, we learn that God is approachable. While others may have been relaxing or sleeping at that time of night, our Lord made Himself available to all, so much that Nicodemus felt comfortable in approaching Him.
The second thing we notice is the Lord’s boldness and directness. He neither beat around the bush nor minced words when he dialogued with others. He told Nicodemus plainly that He needed to be born again to see and enter the kingdom of God. If we desire to be like our Lord, we must make ourselves available and approachable to others. We must also always be about our Father’s business, redeeming every conversation, as much as possible, for the kingdom and cause of God. In John chapter 3 we see how our Lord attempted to use his conversations with his fellow man as an avenue to talk about the things of God.
From this conversation we learn that sometimes a person is not won over to the Lord in a night. The conversation with Nicodemus in John chapter 3 marks the first time we read of Nicodemus in the gospel of John but certainly not the last. We read of him in John chapter 7 expressing his curiosity concerning the claims and origins of this man from Nazareth. Nicodemus, in front of a hostile crowd, asked for patience with the Lord Jesus and appealed to his peers to give Jesus the benefit of the doubt, saying, Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?” (John 7:51).
We later read that Nicodemus came with Joseph of Arimathea to prepare Jesus’ body for burial. Apparently, that first conversation under the cover of night struck a chord with Nicodemus and had fermented in him a longing to know and trust Jesus as his Savior. At the cross we see he was now ready to come to Jesus in the broad day light.
Jesus Took Time With People
Through our Lord’s interaction with Nicodemus we see that our Lord made time to sit and talk with people. Sharing our faith is not necessarily preaching a sermon. It is not always a one way conversation where I preach and you listen. Often times it is a dialogue that takes place across the assembly line at work or standing in line at a grocery store. It may happen as you pick up your kids from school or exercise at the gym. Whenever it may be, day or night, our Lord taught us by example to be ready to talk to people about spiritual truth.
Don’t Be Afraid Of Questions
Our Lord told Nicodemus what he needed to hear and then, when Nicodemus was confused, the Lord listened carefully to him to answer his questions. We should not interpret all questions as hostility to the gospel. Although there are questions that are meant to trap us and trip us up, such as when they ask our Lord who would be the husband in heaven of the woman who had married to seven men in her lifetime, generally speaking people who ask questions are generally looking for answers. The Lord Jesus was not afraid of answering questions. Neither should we.
How can these things be? Nicodemus asked. In response to the Lord Jesus’ proclamation, You must be born again, Nicodemus inquired, How can a man, being old, enter again, a second time, into his mother’s womb? Our Lord was patient with this religious man, a trait not very common when dealing with those who are lost in religion, but because our Lord is gracious and interested in the souls of men He took time to explain what He meant to Nicodemus.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, in the conversation with Nicodemus we see our Lord’s authority. He did not speak or teach as the scribes and Pharisees. He spoke with confidence because He did not fear man, nor did He need to be taught by any man. Perhaps in heaven we might have the chance to ask Nicodemus what he intended to ask the Lord that night he came under the cover of night, for before he could even get the question out of his mouth, the Lord Jesus told him what he most needed to hear. Nicodemus, you must be born again. You cannot see the kingdom of God without it. You cannot enter the kingdom of God unless you have it.
Our Lord Jesus wasn’t afraid to tell people what they needed to hear. Quite the opposite: He loved them too much not to tell them.
Shane is a regular contributor to our Christian internet radio station, HopeStreamRadio through his program entitled “Christ Up Close.” You can listen to podcasts from Shane Johnson’s show, “Christ Up Close,” by clicking here.
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Images Courtesy of:
Night – Marcin Morawiec
Jesus And Nicodemus – William Brassey Hole
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