Speaker: Jerry Cisar
What does it mean to see the Kingdom of God and enter it? What does it mean to be born again? Why is it essential? What is eternal life? How does it relate to the Kingdom of God? This Sunday’s text speaks to all these questions and more.
We will be zooming in to examine the story of Nicodemus who came to Jesus at night. But it will help to zoom out briefly to consider how that story fits into the story line of John’s Gospel. John 2 began with Jesus and His disciples in Cana in Galilee and ended with them in Jerusalem. In this next section of John, they begin in Jerusalem (2:23) and wind-up in Cana (4:46), passing through Judea (3:22) and Samaria (4:4-5) along the way. This section is introduced telling us that Jesus knows all people, even the unseen aspects inside of them. Then on this journey we are told about a particular person at each of these locations.
These 4 people are very different from each other. We have Nicodemus, John the Baptist, a Samaritan woman, and a Gentile royal official. Nicodemus is the most likely character by outward appearance to be worthy of entrusting oneself to, but turns out to be the darkest character. John the Baptist is the most enlightened person we will encounter. His motivations are quite the opposite of Nicodemus’. The Samaritan woman is the least likely character for entrance into Jesus’ Kingdom, yet clearly understands Jesus more than Nicodemus. Finally, the royal official, a Gentile. He isn’t a Jewish leader, but a Gentile ruler, an oppressor. Yet he does what Nicodemus was unwilling to do in our present scene.
Okay now we are ready to zoom in and examine the story of Nicodemus.