Bible Study: John Three
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Nicodemus was a Pharisee which means he was a religious leader at the time. He devoted his life to work in the church as a Priest, pastor, teacher like several others. He had spent his entire life studying the Old Testament Scriptures and would have had many of them memorized by the time he was a young man.
He comes to Jesus in the middle of the night so no one sees him because the religious leaders were afraid they would loss their power amongst the people if they followed Jesus. They were in it for personal gain, not the glory of God which continues to be a problem in church leadership in some churches.
Later, we will find that Nicodemous grows in his understanding and belief of Jesus and later gives up his role in the church to follow Jesus as the Son of God.
Why he starts a conversation with Jesus about believing Jesus is a good teacher sent by God, Jesus almost seems to ignore him to get to the heart of the matter……
Unless if one is born again (by accepting Jesus as leader and forgiver), He can not enter heaven….this confused Nicodemus because it sounded like an outrageous claim.
From verses 5-8 – Jesus says people can not be born again accept by water and Spirit (baptism and accepting Jesus as leader and forgiver)
Verse 9 – Nicodemus is still confused
Verse 10 – 12 – Jesus puts a challenge on him that he claims to be a teacher as a religious leader of God’s people but does not understand spiritual matters after a life time of study of the Scriptures.
Verse 13-21 – Jesus goes on a rant of statements that say incredible truths and I would guess it kinda overwhelmed Nicodemous with a new way of thinking….
– No one has been to heaven (at that time) except the one he was speaking to (Jesus)
– The Son of Man will be lifted up (Jesus will be crucified showing he knew his sacrifice from the beginning) so that those who believe in Him can be saved
– That it was due to God’s love that He sent His Son to rescue us through His death and Resurrection
– He did not come to condem the world but to save it through Jesus
– Whoever believes in Christ will not be condemned
– Light (Jesus) has come into the world but men loved darkness (sin)
– Whoever loves the light, people will see it because they act in the light
Back to Jesus’ cousin John the Baptist
John spent his ministry baptizing and spreading the message that the Messiah was coming. Now that Jesus had been revealed by John, people were going to Jesus to be baptized.
John’s followers were jealous because they liked being popular and now this guy was using the same place they were. John saw things from God’s viewpoint instead of man’s and corrected them. He said, no I need to become less popular so He can become greater. He is the Lord.
This is much how I feel in life and try to hold on to this thinking. To make Tom less so that God can be magnified more. It’s not about me but it’s about what God can do with me. It is tempting sometimes to do it your own way or to take the credit but everything we do is thanks to His glory and grace and the credit is due to him.