Today’s gospel is Jesus’ encounter with Nicodemus (Jn 3:1-8). It is followed by a commentary from Dr Micha Jazz of Premier Christian Media.
There was one of the Pharisees called Nicodemus, a leading Jew, who came to Jesus by night and said, ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who comes from God; for no one could perform the signs that you do unless God were with him’. Jesus answered: ‘I tell you most solemnly, unless a man is born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God’. Nicodemus said, ‘How can a grown man be born? Can he go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?’ Jesus replied:
‘I tell you most solemnly,
unless a man is born through water and the Spirit,
he cannot enter the kingdom of God:
what is born of the flesh is flesh;
what is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Do not be surprised when I say:
You must be born from above.
The wind blows wherever it pleases;
you hear its sound,
but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.
That is how it is with all who are born of the Spirit.’
It’s interesting that Nicodemus approached Jesus in the night. I know for years I lived with a fear of being exposed as a fraud or for having got something wrong. Mistakes were big issues as I grew up. If something was broken then there was always a thermonuclear reaction from my dad. I realise many of my actions were dictated by my fear of both the reaction, and of carrying the blame.
I constantly lied about things I broke or forgot to do. And this became a habit that was only broken once I came to Christ. So like Nicodemus I preferred to make my discoveries under cover of darkness, away from popular gaze. Such a mentality misshapes how one lives life.
Nicodemus approached Christ in the darkness of his own confusion and sin. He was intrigued by this passionate preacher, yet was blind to the truth that this was the Messiah. All of us approach Christ out of the little we know. There is no shame in this, since at least we are wrestling with the darkness in search of the truth. Sadly as Church we tend to close ranks around the enlightened and leave all those struggling in darkness feeling uncomfortable and fearful of approaching Christ in their confusion.
One thing we note is the integrity of Nicodemus leadership. Aware of the responsibility of his office, he recognised that he must explore the movements and influences that shook Judaism in his day. Unwilling to remain constrained by and comfortable within his tradition alone, he chose to consider what God might be saying fresh into his own day and apply his leadership by working to serve the future of his people. To do so meant risking his reputation.
QUESTION: Consider the extent to which your spiritual security lies in what you know.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, you are the way, the truth and the life. I seek you today.