Nicodemus with Jesus at Night (Photo Credit: Eastminster Presbyterian Church)
Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”
Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”
“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”
Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.
“You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”
How Jesus Loved People:
When Nicodemus came to Him Jesus referred back to the story in the Old Testament when the Israelites were traveling through the wilderness, and they began complaining. They complained about the food (manna), they complained about Moses, and they complained about God.
In response, the Lord sent venomous snakes among the Israelites, and many were bitten and died. “We sinned…” the Israelites said to Moses. “Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.”
So Moses prayed and the Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived. (Numbers 21:4-9)
Jesus told Nicodemus, “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”
Jesus tells Nicodemus that He, Jesus, must be lifted up in the same way as that brass snake. But not so people can be saved from snake bites, but so people can be saved forever, eternally!
How to Love Like Jesus:
Jesus loved Nicodemus enough to share the truth about how to attain eternal life. You and I must love people enough to do the same. Think about it: you know the way to eternal life, and you know people who don’t. God would have you share what you know! That person’s eternal life is at stake.
So be sensitive to those who might have questions like Nicodemus did.
Look for a quiet opportunity, maybe at night, like Jesus did.
Recognize the role of God’s Spirit, as Jesus did.
Then share the truth, about the way to eternal life like Jesus did.
Perhaps you’re knowledgeable about the Bible. Maybe you’ve been blessed with the opportunity to receive instruction from the Lord. Flesh gives birth to flesh, and Spirit gives birth to Spirit, but when a baby needs to be birthed, and the mother can’t deliver, there are problems. In the same way, if you’re not birthing spiritually, you’ll have problems. Over and over and over I see people who are saved, people who are Christians, who know God’s word, and believe in Jesus, but they aren’t sharing the way to eternal life as Jesus did with Nicodemus. Over time problems develop. It’s as though they’re breathing in but never breathing out. When someone does that physically, they become faint. When someone does that spiritually, they become spiritually faint. They lose spiritual strength. There’s a lack of responsiveness in their relationship with God. A spiritual sluggishness creeps in.
Don’t become that person.
Find a way, to share the way to eternal life, like Jesus did. Talk with someone you suspect has questions, when things get quiet, maybe at night. Ask for the Holy Spirit’s help.
Or make a phone call.
Or send an email.
Or start a blog.
But find a way.
Do it out of love for God.
Do it out of love for people.
Do it because you love yourself, because you’ll be blessed when you share.
But do it.