Nicodemus, a Pharisee and “leader of the Jews, approaches Jesus at night. Why at night? Was he afraid of what the other Pharisees and his friends would think? He says to Jesus, ” Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God, for no one could do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.”
So Nicodemus and other Pharisees are confused. They see what Jesus does. They know the prophesies. No doubt they argue among themselves, wondering who this Jesus is. Nicodemus’ statement is meant to be a sign of respect perhaps, a sign that he recognizes that Jesus is no ordinary man. There is no question apparent in his statement. But we are told that Jesus answered him as though Nicodemus had asked a question. Why?
Jesus could see into this man’s heart. Jesus knew that Nicodemus was looking for answers, perhaps asking if what he had said to Jesus was true. But instead of saying, “yes, I come from God”, Jesus says “no one can see the kingdom of God unless born from above.” Why does He say that?
Earlier in John’s Gospel, as Jesus began His public ministry, He said, “repent and believe the good news. The Kingdom of God is at hand.” To have something at hand is to have something very near to us. In essence Jesus was saying that the Kingdom of God was right here. But few people saw it. Why? Because they were not born from above? In His statement, it appears that to see the Kingdom of God, one must repent of one’s sins and then believe – believe even if it is difficult. Only then will you be able to see.
The conversation continued as Nicodemus questions whether a man can be born again by re-entering into his mother’s womb. He takes Jesus literally, perhaps as a way of deflecting some difficult concept. He is not listening with his heart.
There was a line in a hymn this morning “Him, whose feet all worlds lay under, In a Virgin’s womb contained”. As stupid as this might sound, I can’t say I ever thought that before. Maybe that was Nicodemus’ problem as well. How could God be born into this world? Why would He be born into this world? Even thinking of it, is mind numbing. We are told the answer to those questions is “LOVE”, unbelievable, incomprehensible, overabundant love. I am so little, and my mind is so small.