Discussion with Nicodemus -
John 2:23 - 3:15
When he was in Jerusalem during the Passover festival, many believed in his name because they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus on his part would not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to testify about anyone; for he himself knew what was in everyone. Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God." Jesus answered him, "Very truly, I tell you, and no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above." Nicodemus said to him, "How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother's womb and be born?" Jesus answered, "Very truly, I tell you, and no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, 'You must be born from above.' The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit." Nicodemus said to him, "How can these things be?" Jesus answered him, "Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?” Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
NNicodemus, 'a leader, of the Jews,' came to Jesus, secretly, by night. He came in good faith, acknowledging that Jesus was from God. But his approach to Jesus cannot reach beyond the limitations of his tradition. He thinks that being a member of the covenant community by birth is enough to qualify him to discern religious reality. In the dialogue with Jesus he is bewildered by a confusing revelation, puzzled by this notion of rebirth from above. He does not understand that he is being challenged to recognise the arrival of the new covenant in the person of Jesus.
We are meant to see ourselves in Nicodemus. We, too, can be overly confident in our religious knowledge and hampered by theological assumptions. We can miss what is really new in the revelation of Jesus. It is a comfort to learn that Nicodemus grew in faith and courage. As a member of the Sanhedrin, he sought to defend Jesus (Jn 7:50-52). And, at the end, at the burial, he aligned himself publicly with Jesus (19:39-42). By 'doing what is true' (3:21) he had finally come to the Light.
This is the Story of Jesus drawn from the four Evangelists
Gospel passages accompanied by a number of brief commentaries