Read: John 3:1-21
THEME: The Gospel record gives us so many examples of how people engaged with Jesus that it would be hard to find a human challenge that did not in some way meet Him face-to face.
The extraordinary thing about this encounter is the amazing amount of spiritual information that Jesus loaded onto Nicodemus, far more than we find recorded for anyone else at such an initial meeting. There appear to be three reasons for this:
Firstly, Nicodemus had revealed his personal openness and Jesus sought to build on this by telling him that spiritual transformation would enable him to see much more than he had realised so far.
Secondly, when Nicodemus was puzzled by the concept of being born again, Jesus used the opportunity to help him distinguish between the spiritual and physical.
Thirdly, given that Nicodemus had arrived at night to protect his national leadership status, Jesus strongly challenged his ignorance of heavenly things. Nicodemus had not only arrived in the dark, he was a teacher who was limited by persistently living in the dark.
It seems that Nicodemus was still thinking everything through three years later as he brought myrrh and helped take the body of Jesus from the cross. He had heard Jesus say ‘as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life’. As a teacher of the Jews he would have known that all who looked at Moses’ serpent lived. He now needed to lift his eyes beyond the soon-to-be-discarded, myrrh-soaked grave clothes... and live.
Let us be grateful that Jesus not only meets us at the level of our understanding but takes us beyond it.