The Journey: "The wind blows wherever it pleases." 10-9-2020
By Dean FosterOctober 9, 2020
The Journey: "The wind blows wherever it pleases."
Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2He 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."
3Jesus replied, " Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again."
In the early days of the church, Christians were referred to as the people of "The Way" (Acts 9:2). Their neighbors who gave them the name must have been confused by the peculiar practices the small group of believers had chosen to include in their lives. Yet, something was clear, they had found a shared belief in something that held them together and gave their lives meaning. There was something that influenced the way they now chose to live. As followers of Jesus Christ, they had found something that offered them a sense of purpose, direction and peace.
People of "The Way" had a manner of living that set them apart from any other people at the time. We can only imagine how joyful, loving, and different their lifestyle was. As far as how their lifestyle made the neighbors wonder about them, we can be sure that was part of the fun.
Welcome to the Journey.
Have you ever thought about Nicodemus just the man? That is, Nicodemus the man he must have been living there in Jerusalem. Who the old guy was before that radical Teacher/ Healer and Trouble Maker Jesus came to the city and stirred things up? Before Jesus came along and made him a recognizable name.
We've read about the Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council and a Pharisee (John 3:1). Not only a wealthy scholar but by all accounts, he was a spiritual person as well. Perhaps he was even one of the spiritually aware who had the time to think about life's deeper meaning. Nicodemus strikes me as that kind of person who thought and felt spiritually about things and enjoyed the search for meaning. In short, Nicodemus seems like an accomplished, older man who had taken a long look at life and decided that after all he had accumulated, experienced and learned, "something was still missing."
Either that or Nicodemus was just at the point in life where many of us have been or will come to be. He could have been at that point where people ask themselves the age-old question: "Is this all there is?" God may have given Nicodemus that simple yet profound thought to struggle with. Given it to him just as a young Rabbi was about to enter the city. The old Pharisee may have been thinking about life that way as the Teacher with a new message, a healing touch and of course "Zeal for his Father's house," was being welcomed into the Temple courts.
It seems reasonable to consider Nicodemus asking profound questions. That would explain why Jesus coming to the city didn't bother him the way it did the other Pharisees and Religious leaders. They felt threatened by Jesus while Nicodemus the searcher felt drawn to the, "…teacher who has come from God" (John 3:2). While the others weren't quite sure what to do about the popular prophet, Nicodemus knew right away that the thing to do was to ask Jesus about life now; about life after; and about a million other things. The searcher in Nicodemus knew he could ask Jesus about the "something that was missing."
When they met, Nicodemus must have said something like, "Teacher, we know you have come from God. God must be with you."
He didn't have to ask, "Is there anything more to life than what I have seen so far?" Jesus already knew what Nicodemus truly wanted to know or ask, even if Nicodemus didn't.
3Jesus answered, "Very truly I tell you, no one can see the Kingdom of God unless they are born again."
Isn't it breathtaking to see how this wealthy Jewish aristocrat came to a homeless, penniless prophet who had been the carpenter of Nazareth, to ask him about eternity?
Think how shocked Nicodemus would have been to learn that their "private" meeting and the Good News lesson Jesus gave him that night would be written about by John. Not only that, (if he could only imagine or fathom) the way their conversation would later be read about by tens of millions of believers and searchers.
Think how blessed Nicodemus the man would have been if he had been able to understand and realize his question about being born again and the teaching that answers it have introduced the Good News to the World. Introduced the Good News and helped so many Believers see and accept that being born again is not in any way a human endeavor.
Throughout the day Jesus was surrounded by crowds of people all the time. That might be why Nicodemus arranged to meet with Jesus at night; to have a private and completely undisturbed time with him. As we look at the way Nicodemus questions what Jesus has said let's remember that this is only working up to the Good News and the grace of God Jesus is about to share with Nicodemus. The old Pharisee is still thinking in terms of what he as a man has to do in order to deserve the kingdom of God. He knows nothing of the grace of God.
To be born again is to experience such a radical change that it is like a new birth; to have something happen to the soul which can only be described as being born all over again: it is not a human process or achievement. Because it clearly comes from the grace and power of God.
To be Born Again is a Gift from God that requires nothing more than our surrender to it. We don't find God; he always knows where we are.
This is the Journey.