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But it is good for me to draw near to God… Psalm 73:28a

Nicodemus – John 3:1-7

author Posted by: Mike on date Sep 6th, 2004 | filed Filed under: Bible Study, Faith, Jesus

You have probably heard it said that there is no such thing as a dumb question. Or, to put it another way, the only dumb question is one that is not asked. I think that I could add to this by saying that smart questions are questions that are asked with sincere motives.

We see often, that when Jesus was asked a question by the Pharisees, that their motive was not sincere. For example, in Matthew, Chapter 22, the Pharisees got together and tried to entangle Jesus in his talk. When Jesus heard their question, this is what we are told happened.

But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? — Matt. 22:18 (KJV)

Jesus knew the motivation of their hearts. They did not ask their question in sincerity, and as a result, Jesus did not open up for them the mysteries of God. However, if you diligently seek God, he will come and answer your questions. We see this with a Pharisee named Nicodemus.

I like Nicodemus. He is a man who is not afraid to ask a question, even though, just by asking these questions, he is taking on great personal risk. The Pharisees were opposed to Jesus. Nicodemus is a member of this group. He has heard Jesus speak and has been part of the discussions the Pharisees had about Jesus. However, with Nicodemus, something is different.

He has sincere questions. We read in John, Chapter 3, Verses 1-7.

John 3

  1. There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:
  2. The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.
  3. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
  4. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?
  5. Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
  6. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
  7. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

Nicodemus asks his first question in Verse 2, by way of making a statement. This is what he says, “Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.” In other words, he is asking, how can I know God like you know God? Nicodemus has dedicated his life to knowing and understanding the law of God, but he does not have mighty works of God that he sees in Jesus. He sees a difference and wants to know God like that!

Look how Jesus answers him. He tells Nicodemus what needs to happen for him to know God.

Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

What a statement! What truth, straight from the mouth of God! Yet, Nicodemus does not understand. All his years of studying God’s word and ways does not give him the knowledge to explain this statement. All the knowledge that he has gained in his lifetime does not give him understanding of this important truth.

Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

I like what happens next. Nicodemus is not afraid to ask another question. “How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?” To Nicodemus, it is impossible to be born again. And yet, Jesus says it must happen.

Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

As part of his answer to Nicodemus’ question, Jesus explains that he is talking about a spiritual birth, not a birth of the flesh. Even after this explanation, we are told later in the text that Nicodemus asks yet another question. “How can these things be?” For that question, he receives a mild rebuke and further explanation.

It is this explanation that contains the most famous verse in the Bible.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. — John 3:16 (KJV)

Nicodemus asked sincere questions and Jesus honored his seeking with this truth. Here is the truth: that he, Jesus, is the Son of God and has come that you, Nicodemus, can have everlasting life. “Ye must be born again.”

It is the same for you and me. “Ye must be born again.” There is no other way. You can ask questions of God, just like Nicodemus. God will be faithful to answer your questions with His truth.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. — John 3:16 (KJV)

This is God’s word, plainly spoken in answer to Nicodemus’ sincere questions. It is for you as well as Nicodemus. I pray that you will be blessed by knowing and believing in Jesus, just as I and my family have been blessed in the same.

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