1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; 2 this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:1-3 (NASB)
I was living in Washington, D.C. when Jimmy Carter was elected President of the United States. This was in 1976. I remember the media making a big deal of the fact that Carter claimed to be a “Born Again Christian.”…
I remember a cartoon in Time Magazine later that year that portrayed a sidewalk scene in some large city with normal sized people staring at some adults who were only about 1/3 size. One woman said, “Oh look, born-agains!”
Closely read the passage I placed at the top of this post. Notice that Jesus answered a question that Nicodemus did not ask. Who was Nicodemus? He was a Pharisee with a Greek name. He name means “victor over the people.” Not only was he a Pharisee, he was also a member of the Sanhedren. This was a group of men made up of Pharisees, Scribes, and Sadducees. Those on the counsel were called ‘rulers of the Jews.’ Nicodemus as a powerful man yet he came to see Jesus by night. He probably did this because he feared the implications of being associated with such an controversial person as Jesus. He knew that Jesus was unpopular with most of his fellow Pharisees. Nicodemus opens the conversation by saying, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” Well, he was right, but he didn’t go far enough. I discern in this statement a desire to compliment Jesus so he could learn from him. He got much more than he bargained for.