Night Time Meeting.
In John chapter 3, Jesus meets with a ruler in the Jewish community named Nicodemus. He came to Jesus at night most likely because he did not want risk his status. This is not in the text but we can make a pretty good guess about the intentions since it was mentioned that Nicodemus came at night. At this time the rulers of the Jewish community were threatened by Jesus. He was amassing followers and people were holding Jesus’s authority above the authority of the rulers because Jesus’s knowledge of the Law was so great.
Anyway, Nicodemus has a discussion about seeing the kingdom of God. Understand that in the Jewish mind, they thought the Messiah was to come, conquer and setup His kingdom here on earth. He has the very intense discussion with Nicodemus that leaves him perplexed. Check out the text:
John 3: 1 - 8
Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 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.” 3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
Jesus talks about being “born again”. This was strange to Nicodemus, but really what Jesus was saying is that Nicodemus needed everything that he understood about the purpose of the Law and what the Messiah’s purpose to be “rebirth”. He needed to return to the basics.
In the next verses he challenges Nicodemus’ carnal knowledge verses a spiritual knowledge:
John 3: 9 - 15
9 Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? 11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
After these versus, Jesus gives the most popular verse in the Bible in John 3:16. He says this in showing Nicodemus his complete misunderstanding of what he thought Messiah was here to do. Remember, he thought Messiah is the ultimate warrior king here to establish Israel as the world power and rule on high. Instead, Jesus comes to him, tells him to start over and know that “For God so loved THE WORLD”. He was not here to CONDEMN but to REDEEM!!!
Soli Deo Gloria