I love the story of Nicodemus.
If you know anything about the religious leaders in Jesus’ time, the Pharisees, you know that most encounters with Jesus were antagonistic. These encounters usually ended with Jesus giving the Pharisees a nice big serving of public humility pie.
But in the midst of all this constant fighting, there’s the story of one religious leader that actually hears Jesus’ words and they penetrate his heart. Nicodemus is so moved by Jesus that he makes an appointment (under cover of night) to speak with Jesus personally. Look at the encounter described in the 3rd chapter of the book of John:
1 There was a man named Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader who was a Pharisee. 2 After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus. “Rabbi,” he said, “we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you.”
3 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”
4 “What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?”
5 Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. 6 Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. 7 So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.”
Nicodemus asked for further clarification – and this resulted in one of Jesus’ most famous passages about salvation:
16 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.
Isn’t it good to know that Jesus’ love and message can reach even the hardest heart – even that of a proud, knowledgeable religious leader? God specializes in finding and changing people we might consider “unreachable.” And, as a result many others are draw to Jesus.
Can you imagine what would have happened to Nick if his peers would have found out that he was actually having an intelligent conversation with Jesus? Well, later in the book of John we will see what happens…
Thank you, Lord, for your Word and the power within. Thank You that it’s You doing the drawing of needy people. Use me to draw others to Yourself today.