I want to share with you a captivating story from the pages of the Gospel of John. It is the story of a man named Nicodemus, a Pharisee and a ruler of the Jews. Nicodemus’s encounter with Jesus holds profound lessons for us all as we explore how God interacted with him.
Let us transport ourselves back in time, to the Gospel of John, chapter 3. It was during the night when Nicodemus approached Jesus. In this encounter, we witness Nicodemus’s genuine curiosity and desire to understand the teachings of this extraordinary man, Jesus. He recognized that Jesus was sent by God, for no one could perform the signs and wonders that Jesus did unless God was with him.
Nicodemus began the conversation by acknowledging Jesus’s authority, saying, “Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him” (John 3:2, KJV). Nicodemus recognized the hand of God upon Jesus, but he did not yet grasp the full depth of Jesus’s message.
In response, Jesus, in His profound wisdom, revealed to Nicodemus a fundamental truth. He declared, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3, KJV). Jesus spoke of the need for a spiritual rebirth, a transformation of the heart that comes through faith in Him.
Nicodemus, puzzled by Jesus’s words, asked, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?” (John 3:4, KJV). Nicodemus struggled to understand the spiritual nature of Jesus’s message, because he was bound by the limitations of human understanding.
Jesus continued to teach Nicodemus, explaining the significance of being born of the Spirit. He emphasized that salvation comes through faith in Him, the Son of God, who would be lifted up on the cross to bring eternal life to all who believe.
As we follow Nicodemus’s journey, we find him appearing twice more in the Gospel of John. In John 7, he courageously defended Jesus before the Pharisees, advocating for a fair hearing rather than immediate judgment. And in John 19, after Jesus’s crucifixion, Nicodemus, together with Joseph of Arimathea, brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes to anoint the body of Jesus, honoring Him in His death.
Nicodemus’s story teaches us a few valuable lessons. It reveals the importance of seeking truth with an open heart, even when it challenges our preconceived notions. Nicodemus demonstrated humility by coming to Jesus, willing to learn and grow in his understanding of God’s plan.
Furthermore, Nicodemus’s journey shows us the transformation that can occur when we encounter Jesus. He went from seeking knowledge in the darkness of night to boldly defending Him and honoring Him in His death.
The story of Nicodemus ultimately highlights the pivotal truth that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16, KJV). It emphasizes the need for spiritual rebirth, the necessity of faith in Jesus Christ, and the abundant life that comes through Him.
We should seek to be like Nicodemus, seeking the truth with open hearts, ready to embrace the teachings of Jesus. Transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit, born again into a new life of faith in Christ. Boldly proclaiming His name, defending Him in the face of opposition and honoring Him in all that we do.