He was kind of an old guy. He was well known by all the people in his town and in other towns. He didnít want people to see him and ask what he was doing, so he decided to set out at night. He shuffled through the dark streets and didnít bring a light. He wanted to be undetected. He gathered his robes around him and climbed up the tree to wait. He knew that man would pass this way. He had seen him many times. It was a little cold and very uncomfortable in the tree. He waited quietly, hopefully. It was hard being a member of the Jewish ruling council. Everyone looked to him for answers and until now, he had been placating them with generalizations. But, his curiosity had gotten the better of him. There was no way this guy was a fake, no way he was just fooling people. His work had to be of God. Who else could be behind those kinds of miracles? ďI have to find out for myself.Ē He whispered into the leaves of the tree. Just then he spied the man he had been waiting for. He scurried out of the tree noiselessly and approached him. "Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him."
In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."
"How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!"
Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."
"How can this be?" Nicodemus asked.
"You are Israel's teacher," said Jesus, "and do you not understand these things? I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven--the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God."
Nicodemus asked Jesus the hard questions and Jesus gave him straight answers. Jesus told Nicodemus the truth. Nicodemus was very well educated and the people looked to him for answers concerning all the teachings in the Old Testament. Usually Nicodemus had them, but then came Jesus. Nicodemus knew He was different and Nicodemus knew the scriptures well enough to read the signs. This was the Messiah. The man they were all waiting for. But, Nicodemus had to be sure. He had to talk with Jesus and ask the questions himself. Jesus revealed to this devout Pharisee that the kingdom of God would come to the whole world not just the Jewish nation and that Nicodemus wouldnít be part of it unless he was born again. This was a revolutionary concept: the kingdom is personal, not national or ethnic, and its entrance requirements are repentance and spiritual rebirth. When all was said and done, Nicodemus accepted. Nicodemus joined with Joseph of Arimathea to bury Jesus (John 19:39). He was one of the first Jewish converts to Christianity, one of the first followers of Christ.
Like, Nicodemus, we must all examine Jesus for ourselves. We have to know him personally to have a relationship with Him. If the kingdom of God is a personal kingdom and the requirements of entrance are personal, then we canít slip through on the coat tails of some religion or someone elseís zealousness of belief. We have to possess the rebirth for ourselves. Itís imperative that we go to the source, Jesus Christ, ourselves, and ask the hard questions. Open the Bible today and ask. You will find the truth and like Nicodemus, our lives will be changed forever.
To read the entire story of Nicodemus and Jesus, go to John 3:1-21.