Focal passages: John 3:1-5, 14-21 This passage accounts the meeting Jesus had with a Pharisee named Nicodemus. Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary describes a Pharisee as: a member of the Jewish sect of the intertestamental period noted for strict observance of the rights and ceremonies of the written law (laid down by God through Moses) and for insistence on the validity of THEIR OWN (emphasis added) oral traditions concerning the law. Self-righteous. Jesus described them in Matthew 15:8 “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me,” and in Matt. 23, Jesus calls them, “Whitewashed tombs…full of dead people’s bones.” Outwardly righteous but inwardly, spiritually dead.
I describe the Pharisees to show that this is the sect that Nicodemus came from, and yet he wanted to know the Truth. He was brave enough to want to know Jesus thoughts on salvation rather than trusting in his own traditions. Twice, Jesus chastises Nicodemus for his unbelief, but He also offered him hope in versus 14-21. Verse 16-18 are mostly quoted as stand alone vss, but in context, it appears that Jesus is still speaking to Nicodemus. Though the passage doesn’t confirm that he was saved that day, Nicodemus later stands up and bravely speaks out in the midst of the Scribes and the Pharisees in defense of Jesus, and was told to leave, which is recorded in John 7:50-51. He also brings 75 lbs. of burial spices to prepare Jesus’ body for burial in John 19:39-40.
There is so much doubt, fear, and unbelief in the world today, that Nicodemus’ story gives me encouragement. We are trapped in a world where godlessness abounds and God is denied openly; arrogantly. Many people, including Christians, are plagued with doubt that God is even listening, and burdened with so much sickness of the body, mind and Spirit, that we are oppressed, even paralyzed. Some are convinced, like the Pharisees, that their must be something else to salvation, that they must do this and do that to earn their way into Heaven. But there is Hope, in simple faith–in Jesus who is the Christ, the Son of God, the Savior of the world. He is our only, ONLY hope.
Father, God, please work Your will in our world and in our lives today. Draw us closer to You, and may we hear You. Have Your Holy Spirit touch our lives, and Your will be done. In Jesus’ name, Amen.