“There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, ‘Rabi, 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. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Humanity has tried to solve the problem of evil in many ways. Some suggestions have been helpful and nice, like for example they would suggest that the problem with evil in the world is because people are not so educated with moral behaviour and they need to be educated. Others would say that it’s because of one’s upbringing in a certain culture that makes them behave the way they do. These ideas and theories would help the person look good outwardly but it would still not solve where the root of the problem really is. Humanity has an inward problem. And whatever is on the inside cannot be changed by the one who has it. Simply because this disease has effected the mind, the will and the emotions. They are all together corrupted and impure. And so if the suggestion to believe that any system created by man’s thinking will solve the problem of evil; we are so far from even reaching to that conclusion. Therefore humanity cannot depend on its morality and good works to be good, honouring and righteous, because it has a problem which only God alone can remove it. And that is sin. Evil in the heart.
And how important are the word’s that the Lord Jesus Christ says to this man of reputation Nicodemus? A ruler of the Jews, in verse 10 of the same chapter He calls him ‘THE’ teacher of Israel. The words that Christ says to Nicodemus are of outmost importance.
I remember when I was a little boy, my sister one day made a prank on me. She took the phone and gave it to me and said to me ‘Ninos, the president of Cyprus in on the phone and he wants to speak to you!’. And without giving a second though, I became serious immediately and inwardly excited to listen to what the president has to say to me. And when I said ‘hello?’ in a fearful tone of seriousness, I could then hear my sister’s deep voice acting as if she was the president. Off course it was then that I realized that it was not the president. But see how serious I was? See how fearful I was? Because it was an important phone call.
Then how much more must we consider the word of Christ when He says to Nicodemus ‘truly, truly’ ‘Verily, verily’ ‘amen, amen’, because when He always says that always means that what He is about to say needs our very attention because it is an important message. It is a message of great necessity. The Words of Christ are not a prank, they are not a joke, and they are not something that you can make it into joke either. It is a solemn matter with eternal consequences.
Who is Nicodemus?
First let us see who our Lord is addressing this too and why. He is addressing it to a man named Nicodemus. Nicodemus was a naturally good man, a wise man and someone well respected in the religious world of Israel. He would be equivalent to someone today who has his or her own tv show answering people’s questions and needs in life. He was the religious guru of the day. I remember in my Roman Catholic years sometimes I would see young and old come up to the Archbishop or even sometimes the Pope, bow down and kiss his hand to show that they had the outmost respect for this man. And Nicodemus was like that, his hand has been kissed by many, no doubt, he processed the praise of men.
He was a man with a true knowledge of the Old Testament Scriptures. An expert in scholastic matters and in academia. Not only was he all of that; he also was seen as a very religious man and a very serious one. Because as a Pharisee he would do things to be seen by people, by doing long fasting and long repeated prayers in public to show the kind of holy living he has living. The Pharisees kept around a 316 laws based on their traditions and Nicodemus was a champion of keeping them as was the Apostle Paul before converting to Christ. He had all that and yet our Lord says something to him which was a shock to him. And I am sure that if you knew someone like Nicodemus you would be shocked of these words said by Jesus also. Though the Lord could see what Nicodemus achieved, I don’t believe that he would say ‘Nicodemus is a holy man; a godly man’. In fact He says the exact opposite.
Now Nicodemus has heard much and has seen much of Christ’s ministry. He witnessed His miracles, His healings, His casting out of demons, and His preaching which is beyond anything that he has ever heard of. ‘This Jesus of Nazareth’ he thought to himself ‘is so different from all other religious teachers that I know’ ‘he has something which I want and I want to know what that is, I want to know the truth’. And he desires to meet with Christ Jesus and have an interview in the night, privately, because as we said, he was the teacher of Israel. Jesus is just a mere son of a carpenter from a despised place called Nazareth, but he is full of knowledge of the scriptures and speaks in such a way which shows authority. Because He is God in the flesh (John 1:14).
(to be continued)