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Jesus and Nicodemus

(John 3:1-16)

Lesson 12 -- first quarter 2005
February 20, 2005

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2004, Christian Light Publications

Probing Your Own Heart

What do you know about Jesus?

Do you believe everything Jesus taught?

Building on Some Foundational Concepts

Jesus makes Himself obvious to every human heart.

Nicodemus acknowledged that he and others in his socio-religious class knew that Jesus was no ordinary teacher of ordinary origin. Jesus had made Himself obvious even to the social upper class and the religious elite. He is "not willing that any should perish" (2 Peter 3:9). So He declared, "I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the LORD" (Ezekiel 38:23).

In our natural spiritual state we do not qualify as citizens of the kingdom of God.

Jesus calls us to "seek...first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness" (Matthew 6:33). However, we cannot see or enter into that kingdom without receiving life in the Spirit. Furthermore, "He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life" (1 John 5:12). This takes fervent self-denial and undistracted focus -- "I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord...that I may win Christ" (Philippians 3:8).

God's love should not be underestimated.

His intense love for me moved Him to hold back nothing to make possible my redemption. What His love did for me, it has done for everyone else! We forget that too easily in the face of life's unlovelies.

Believing in Jesus is not a one-time event.

Believing in Jesus begins as a single experience but it leads into a full life view and life style. He converts our lives into an ongoing demonstration and proof of our faith in Him. That is believing!

Questions and Responses

Why was Nicodemus sneaking around, knowing what he knew?

We don't know he was sneaking around, trying to avoid detection and embarrassment. We have no indication at all that Nicodemus had any negative reasons for searching out Jesus by night.

Never mind Nicodemus, though. If you think he should have been bold and sought out Jesus openly and in broad daylight, do you seek Jesus that way? In fact, do you seek Him out by night as well? I wonder how readily others can tell that we are seeking Him, that we have been with Him. Perhaps we ought to consider that any uncomplimentary thoughts we may have about Nicodemus merely mirror the state of our own commitment to Jesus.

Why was Jesus so hard on Nicodemus?

"Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? ...Ye receive not our witness...ye believe not, how shall ye believe...?" (John 3:10-12).

Jesus not only holds everyone accountable to live according to what they know, He also holds them accountable to know what they could have known. (Don't forget that everyone and them includes you!) It seems ignorance is no better excuse that carelessness or even outright disobedience.

Let's not overlook another motivation behind Jesus' words to Nicodemus: love.

How do I know I've been born again?

"For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:26).

"The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God" (Romans 8:16).

"He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself" (1 John 5:10).

"And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments" (1 John 2:3).

Why did God do the hard part in the plan of redemption?

Because nobody else could or would. Because He loved us. Because He wanted to make sure we could be saved. Because that's the way He is!

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