Thursday 24 October 2013

John 3:1-21 - Nicodemus

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We know that on the whole the Pharisees were very critical of Jesus. They were concerned that the Law should be kept at all costs and in the smallest detail. Yet there were some Pharisees who were sympathetic towards him and wanted to understand his teaching. One of these was Nicodemus.

Perhaps he didn't want his colleagues to know what he was up to because he came to see Jesus after dark. Nonetheless he came. And he had questions. They were 'I want to understand' questions, not 'I want to catch you out' questions.

Jesus explains that he is offering people something that is like a second birth, a new beginning. [Tweet it!] It's not a bodily beginning but a spiritual one. Although Nicodemus has little chance of really getting it, Jesus explains the whole deal pretty thoroughly.

People have been bitten by the evil one who is like a poisonous snake in his dealings with us - just look at the way he deceived Eve in the garden. We are doomed as a result of Adam and Eve's disobedience (and our own). But all we have to do is look to Jesus and we will live.

Now read Numbers 21:4-9 and see the parallel, Nicodemus would have known these verses well and would have understood, at least in part. (We have the benefit of hindsight and understand what Jesus means when he says the Son of Man must be 'lifted up'.)

In the end, Nicodemus did get it. See John 7:45-52 and John 19:38-42.

Jesus came to reach everyone who would accept his message and believe in him. In principal he is not opposed to anyone, but not everyone chooses to follow him. All we have to do is turn to him and look upon him and we will live. And seeing this, shouldn't we also accept anyone and everyone who will come?

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