Daily Thought for: 22nd September

NICODEMUS, A RULER OF THE JEWS

John 3. 1-16

At any one time there were never more than six thousand Pharisees in and around Jerusalem, and Nicodemus was one of them. These were men who, before witnesses, had solemnly undertaken to commit their whole lives to the public observance of the most stringent requirements of the Law of Moses, as interpreted by the scribes. They were known as ‘the separated ones’. He was also a teacher of the Law and a member of the Sanhedrin—the supreme court of the Jewish nation. He was wealthy and possibly from an influential family from Galilee. 

Nicodemus had heard of, and possibly had seen, some of the Lord’s miracles. But he saw more—he saw them as signs pointing to something else. His interest was aroused. His appreciation of the Lord was that He was a teacher, that He came from God and that God was with Him. He addressed the Lord politely, ‘Rabbi’, coming by night either out of fear of ridicule, or more likely because that was when Jews would meet to discuss their religion. He indicated that he was not alone in this appreciation. He said, ‘We know’; perhaps Joseph and he had already shared their thoughts about the Lord. We see in Nicodemus a man in whom academic achievement, political power and religious knowledge still left a spiritual gap. He was truly seeking for light as he came to Jesus whom he recognized as an authoritative teacher. The Lord answered Nicodemus’ unspoken question and told him how to enter the kingdom of God. It is by new birth; by being ‘born again’, or ‘born from above’. Nicodemus accepted that such a thing was necessary but how ever could it happen? The Lord explained that to be born from above meant to be born of water and of the Spirit. New birth happens by the word of God revealing both sin and the efficacy of the blood of Christ. At the same time the Spirit enters and eternal life begins. As initially natural birth had produced a natural man, so now the spiritual birth produces a spiritual life, and all the characteristics that go with it. 

Nicodemus further hears of the love of God and understands the claims of the One to whom he is listening to be the Son of God. Nicodemus reflected on this teaching and at some point he accepted it and became a ‘secret disciple’. 

 

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