WHO IS JESUS?
Nick couldn't explain it, not even to himself. There was something about this man, something that caused him to be filled with questionings. Whatever it was, it was driving him to seek answers.
Curiosity is a strange thing. It pushes a man down paths where he knows that trouble exists. This case was no different. This man, this unique fellow that came among them teaching new and strange things, had aroused the ire of the Leaders. Therefore, Nick's journey was by night, lest he find himself on the receiving end of the Leaders wrath.
The Teacher's appearance was nothing extraordinary. He did not have the look of a general who could lead men into battle. He had the look of a common man. There was absolutely nothing that would set him apart. Yet, there was something different about him.
Nick had faced real danger by coming to this man. Even so, his words did not come easily. There were so many things to ask, so many things rushing into his mind. Finally, he spoke. "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." It wasn't a question. But, it was something.
To Nick's amazement, he seemed to read his thoughts. "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Spoke the Teacher.
The door was now open. Nick had the Teacher's attention. He was going to get some answers. As he pondered the Teacher's statement, he became confused. He had no alternative but to pursue the matter.
Nick continued by asking, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?"
Now Nick is no dummy. He is a teacher and ruler among his people. His mind is sharp and his education is among the best. He should be able to understand anything the Teacher had to say.
The Teacher answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit."
Nick's confusion progressed to frustration. He is a Jew a part of the Holy Nation which belongs to God. He is a Jew because he was born a Jew. When he came forth from his mother's womb, he was numbered with the children of God. And now, the Teacher is telling him he must be born again, born of water and spirit. Nick reeled as he attempted to understand.
Nick's mind screamed for further explanation as he uttered the following. "How can these things be?"
Once again, the Teacher speaks, "Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things? Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
'He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.'"
Nick was given much to ponder. The Teacher said that men speak what they know and testify to what they have seen. He indicated that Nick should have known about Him and His mission. As a teacher, Nick knew the Messianic prophesies for he had studied them all his life. He knew the promise from God of a redeemer and savior to come. Nick knew all of these. However, he lacked the understanding necessary to discern the identity of the Teacher.
The Teacher was indeed a teacher, but He was much more. He was indeed a man, but much more as well. The Teacher was the Light that had come into the world. He was the Light of truth in human form which comes from God. The Light that men reject because their deeds are evil.
Nick had to come to grips with the Teacher called Jesus. He had to decide what he believed about Him. Was Jesus just a good man, a prophet from God, or was He the embodiment of truth? Did Jesus die because He angered people in high places, or was there another reason as well? Was/is Jesus God the Son, or was He a blasphemer?
Like Nicodemus of old, each one of us must grapple with the identity of Jesus. A good place to start toward discovery is in John 3:1-21. It is becoming more and more unpopular to accept Jesus on His terms.
Although, there is some danger in the journey, the end will be joy unspeakable. May God smile upon our journey toward this knowledge.
By Glen Young
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