Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Biblical Profile | Nicodemus

The Bible is full of amazing stories with amazing people. One of the problems we have with reading the Bible is we don't understand the culture it was written in, the original language, or the subtle hints that the original audience would have understood. 

Last week I preached on John 3. It's a chapter that many people in the world will be able to think of because of John 3:16. In chapter 3 we’re introduced to a highly regarded Jewish man named Nicodemus 
Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.” John 3:1-2
It will help us to learn about this man’s life so we know his intention in coming to Jesus. Nicodemus was a Pharisee, they were the spiritual heroes of the day. We don’t see them in that light, we see them in the light that Jesus spoke of them. Most people now days think of Pharisee as synonymous with hypocrite. 

Nicodemus is a Jew but he has a Greek name. He was probably from a wealthy Jewish family who gave him a Greek name. That meant he most likely had a Greek education and read the Old Testament in the Greek. We know he was a highly educated man and in good standing in Jewish circles. 

John teaches us that he was a member of the Jewish ruling council—he is a politician. He was also a member of the Sanhedrin, they are the highest legislative body in Judaism. John is telling us that he was an influential man. Nicodemus is more important that Rockefeller, Einstein, Bezos, or Musk. In fact, he is all of them! 

He is the kind of man you want to represent you in any manner and he’s going to Jesus under the cover of darkness to talk religion. 

Something is off here. The example of night is probably a literary example to reflect his spiritual condition and the not the hour of the day. But it proves to us that Nicodemus wanted to know God. All his study, all his education, and prestige left him void of God. Listen to this: “As a Pharisee, Nicodemus represented those of his day and ours who seek the meaning of life in religion but do not find it. He belonged to the church, but he knew nothing of that personal, life-transforming relationship to Jesus Christ upon whom the true church is founded.” —James Montgomery Boice. 

There are millions of people who are educated in financial matters, the housing market, education, specific industries, and more! They have a great knowledge but their life is void of God. That might you right now. You could be an expert in your field but you need to come to listen to Jesus. 

If you focus on verse 2 you will see that Nicodemus knew three things about Jesus: 
1) He’s a teacher
2) He came from God
3) And there are signs to prove it

The whole point of this story is that despite Nicodemus’ knowledge, he is wrong. He doesn’t know Jesus! He’s heard about Jesus but doesn’t know Him. 

Nicodemus wants to know God! Some of us have been attending church for years, maybe even decades. Some of us have been reading the Bible for years, maybe even decades. This short character study on Nicodemus reveals much more than we'd gather by simply reading the passage on our own. 

So let me leave you this questions: 
1) What do you know about Jesus?
2) Do you personally know Jesus?
3) What do you need to learn about Jesus? 

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