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Why be born again? Part 2

Nicodemus comes to see Jesus: John 3:1-4

John 3:1 There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.

Nicodemus was a Pharisee- which means he was a deeply religious man, who scheduled prayer 7 times each day, he also visited the temple 3 times a day, and would include discussions on theology and perform charitable deeds on a regular basis.

 Nicodemus was in the ruler of the Jews, a ruler of the people, in other words, a top man and a VIP. Some historians think that Nicodemus might have been part of the Ben Gurion family who were a wealthy and powerful family in Israel in those days.

Nicodemus as a Pharisee would have known the Law and the Prophets' scriptures and would certainly have learned them by heart.

2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”

3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

 v2 Might have been to avoid public scrutiny or might have been both men were busy during the day. Nicodemus calls Jesus rabbi meaning ‘professor’ or ‘teacher’ indicating that he was impressed with Jesus’ learning at a soulish level.  However, intelligence is soulish, and Nicodemus did not call Jesus Lord.

When Nicodemus called Jesus Rabbi (a teacher from God) he had got it right thus far, for the many miracles Jesus did were a proof that he was messiah.

The miracles of Jesus included those prophesied in the old testament for example from Isaiah 29:18-19 (deaf, blind healed etc.), and in Isaiah 35: 4- 6 (deaf ears opened, mute healed, and the lame leaping etc.). These miracles were prophesied some 700 years BC. Another miracle Jesus performed was to heal people with leprosy. Nicodemus would be aware that although the priests routinely diagnosed leprosy as in Leviticus 13, no one until Jesus had actually cured leprosy (see Leviticus 14). Modern medicine has only found a cure for leprosy in the last twenty years.

When John the Baptist-heard of the works of Christ-he sent messengers to ask Jesus are you the expected Messiah…?  Jesus answered in a spiritual manner-quoting the miracles! Nicodemus wants to talk theology, but Jesus wants to talk spiritually to him (remember Nicodemus has only a dead spirit).

v3 Jesus tells him, Amen, Amen, your spirit needs to be born again (regenerated or made alive) or you cannot see the Kingdom of God. Nicodemus’ dead spirit needed to be regenerated i.e. brought to life.

4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”

v4 Nicodemus responds from his soul asking if Jesus meant a physical rebirth showing that Jesus’ words sounded crazy to him -he did not understand what Jesus was telling him.

In Part 3 we continue to explore the fascinating dialogue between Jesus and Nicodemus in John 3:5-8

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