Nicodemus came to Jesus at night. This had practical significance for Nicodemus and has symbolic significance for us. For Nic, it meant that his conversation with Jesus could be secretive. Apparently, he did not want anyone to know that he was interested in Jesus. It could compromise his position as a leader in the Sanhedrin. For us, it is a symbol of the spiritual darkness in Nic’s heart and mind. A darkness that is part of all without Jesus.
Immediately, Jesus knows the heart of Nic, and addresses what needs to happen in one’s life to see the Kingdom of God. To be part of His kingdom now, to see and know Him, to enter Heaven.
1. You cannot enter heaven because of your religious and moral achievements.
Nic was a Pharisee, a religious group zealous for the Old Testament law, He rose to become a leader of the Jews – part of the Sanhedrin which exercised authority over civil, criminal, and religious matters under Roman Supervision.
In no way did Nic’s zeal for the law or position as a religious leader gain him entrance to heaven. You will not get to heaven because you have taught SS, VBS, or come to church weekly. You will not earn your way to heaven by moral excellence.
2. You cannot enter heaven because of your religious and moral acknowledgements.
Notice that there were certain things that Nic acknowledged about Jesus. There were certain things that Nic believed about Jesus. 1. He believed Jesus was a good teacher. 2. He believed Jesus could perform miracles. 3. He believed Jesus was from God. He believed that God was with Jesus in a unique way. Still, he was lost, living in darkness, destined for hell – eternity separated from God. There are certain things we must believe about Jesus in order to be saved. Nic’s beliefs were insufficient for salvation.
Nicodemus was a man typical of the day. See the link between ch 2-3. There was something that attracted many to Jesus yet they were still unwilling to come to him in genuine faith. Nic was probably attracted to Jesus by the fact that Jesus was bold enough to do something that he was too scared to do. Still, He had not trusted in Jesus with saving faith. He was typical of first century Israel. He is typical of 21st century America. He is typical of 21st century Lipan. We live in a town of “good” people. Many who acknowledge certain things about Jesus. Many who are attracted in some way to Jesus. His teaching. His moral excellence. The fact that once a year we have a big celebration of his brith. Still, they are lost, living in darkness, destined for hell. Do you realize this passage teaches us that there are many who will acknowledge with their mind that Jesus was a good teacher, performed miracles, was from God, and God was with him yet will spend eternity separated from God. Are you a modern day Nicodemus?
Nic had a mental assent of Jesus with an outer image of religion but he lacked a heart commitment to Jesus that brings an inner transformation.
3. You can enter heaven by being born again.
You must be born again. You will never see God and enter His heaven unless you are born again. Nic was confused. So many of us may be today. Not born again physically but being born again spiritually. Being washed of your sins and given a new heart, it is the Spirit of God taking up residence in your life! See Ezekiel 36:25:-27
Being born again is the miraculous and mysterious work of the Holy Spirit whereby He makes us alive spiritually, washes of our sins, gives a new heart, and takes up residence in our life. The Spirit of God in bringing about the new birth is compared to the wind in that we cannot completely predict what He will do or how He will do it but we can see the effects of His work in our lives. There are things about God’s Spirit that we cannot completely understand but we can experience.
Have you experienced the work of the Holy Spirit of God whereby you have been cleansed from sin and made alive spiritually by faith in Jesus as God’s Son who died for your sin and rose again?
If you are born once, you will die twice. If you are born twice, you will die once.