“There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 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.’” (John 3:1-2 NKJV)
At first glance, this seems like a simple story of a Pharisee seeking information from Jesus. As opposed to most of the Pharisees, he gives Jesus some respect. Unlike most of the other encounters with Jesus, though, we see Nicodemus three times throughout the gospel of John. In this first encounter, he visited Jesus in the darkness of night, and of his soul. While he shows respect, if not flattery toward Jesus, He responded by getting to the heart of the matter by telling Nicodemus that he needed to be born again. Later in this encounter Jesus explained that God’s love was so great that He loved the whole world – which would have left any Pharisee wondering.
Nicodemus is a picture of the natural progression of a person seeking God. We begin in the dark – lost in our sin. We know that there’s something better for us, but we’re not quite sure what to do to get it. We try to make nice to God so that maybe He’ll like us. If we search in the right place, we’ll discover that we need a new birth, a spiritual birth. We’ll discover that we don’t need to make God love us because He already loves us no matter what’s happened in the past, and that He offers forgiveness because of the sacrifice of Jesus. And, since we’re supposed to be imitating God, we’ll learn to love other people no matter who they are and no matter what they’ve done. This can only happen when we’re born again as children of God through a spiritual birth. If you haven’t developed that relationship with God yet, please feel free to contact me so that we can talk about how you can.
Lord, thank You for the gift of eternal life. Thank You that You broke through my barriers to show me how much You loved me and that You continue to do that to show others how much You love them. Help me to love others like You do.