Listen:  109.1

John 3:1-21 is the account of the Lord’s meeting with Nicodemus.  Nicodemus, a Pharisee is often criticized for coming to the Lord by night, probably out of fear of being seen by his fellow Pharisees.  I would rather appreciate the fact that Nicodemus came to the Lord, no matter what time it was.  The Lord would later say in John 6:37, “…him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”  So, we see the Lord graciously spent time with this fearful Pharisee.

As Nicodemus began to flatter the Lord, he was interrupted by these words in John 3:3, “…Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”  The Lord got straight to the point with Nicodemus; he needed to be born again.  Nicodemus did not understand the meaning of the Lord’s words and we read in John 3:10, “Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?”  Nicodemus was a teacher and spiritual leader of the Jews, yet he had no idea of the need of regeneration, or being born again.  The Lord’s words show that with his knowledge of the Old Testament scriptures, Nicodemus should have seen the teachings of regeneration and realized his own need of being born from above.

Let’s read John 3:14-15, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”  Using the story of the Israelites being bitten by poisonous snakes in Numbers, chapter 21, the Lord explained to Nicodemus about the need for and the gift of salvation.  Even as Moses lifted up a brazen serpent for the bitten and dying Israelites to look upon to be healed, the Lord Jesus would Himself be lifted up on a cross and die so that those who look to Him in faith might be saved.

The Lord then spoke these well-known words to Nicodemus in John 3:16-17, “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. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”  It was the boundless love of God that led Him to send His only begotten Son into the world to die for sinners like Nicodemus, like me, and like you.  He did not send His Son as an instrument of condemnation, but as the way of salvation for the whole world.

Be not fooled, there is only one way of salvation as we read in John 3:18, “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”  To believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as your savior is to have eternal life; to refuse Him is to welcome the condemnation of God.  The Lord will not excuse anyone that refuses to bow the knee to the Lord and receive him as their savior!

What of Nicodemus; did he receive these words of the Lord Jesus and receive eternal life?  Let’s read John 19:38-40, “And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus. And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.”  After the Lord was crucified, Joseph of Arimathaea, took the Lord’s body off the cross and buried Him in his own tomb.  We see here that Nicodemus helped Joseph.  To touch a dead body at this time would disqualify both of these men from participating in the Passover the next day.  For these men to regard the Lord Jesus as more important than the Passover, indicates they were both true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.  (109.1)