Face to Face with Jesus - Nicodemus
Face to Face with Jesus:
Text: John 3:1-21
Thesis: To note that meeting Jesus face to face will cause one to be forever changed.
(1) Everyone who encountered Jesus face to face was forever impacted.
(2) In John 3, Nicodemus meets Jesus.
I. The Text:
A. Meet Nicodemus –
1. He was a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin.
2. He apparently was one of those who had seen Jesus and His miraculous signs as He was in Jerusalem to observe the Passover (John 2:23).
3. No doubt, He was drawn to Jesus and decided to approach Jesus in order to engage in a discussion with Him.
a. “‘By night’ can mean that Nicodemus was afraid to come by day because of the Jewish leaders, or it may reflect the common practice of meeting at night in order to study and converse about the law. Some interpret this allegorically to indicate his coming out of the darkness into the presence of the true light, but this probably reads too much into a rather insignificant point” (LWC).
b. As He talked with Jesus, He complimented Him by stating the obvious, which would have been unexpected from a Pharisee.
B. Jesus quickly changed the nature of the conversation and shifted the focus to Nicodemus himself and called for him to be “born again.”
1. ‘Again’ (Gr. anothen) could also be translated as “from above,” but the context favors “again” (although a dual meaning could be intended).
2. Jesus said to Nicodemus that his physical birth had no bearing upon his relationship with God, instead he must experience a spiritual rebirth if he were to enter into the Kingdom of God.
a. This spiritual rebirth involves being born of “water and of the Spirit” (i.e., Christian baptism; cf. Acts 2:38).
b. As the wind cannot be seen expect by its results, the rebirth can only be seen by its results as well.
C. After Jesus’ explanation, Nicodemus still failed to comprehend what Jesus was saying about the rebirth.
1. Jesus rebuked Nicodemus for not understanding and linked him with the rest of the Pharisees who constantly failed to understand God’s revelation.
2. Nevertheless, Jesus proceeded to speak of heavenly things.
a. He stated that He would have to be lifted up (i.e., the Cross) in order that mankind might have eternal life.
b. This would be a result of God’s amazing love for the world.
c. In order to obtain eternal life, man must believe in Jesus because He alone is the light of the world leading man out of darkness.
II. The Application:
A. Jesus cannot be ignored.
B. One must be born again.
C. Jesus is God’s greatest gift to mankind.
(1) What became of Nicodemus?
(a) In John 7:50-51, he spoke up on Jesus’ behalf.
(b) In John 19:39-42, he showed up after Jesus’ crucifixion (after Jesus’ disciples have fled) to help Joseph of Arimathea bury the body of Jesus.
(c) Beyond that, we don’t know what became of him (although some have attempted to link him to a Nicodemus who survived the destruction of Jerusalem).
(2) One day you will meet Jesus face to face … will you be ready?