Something drew Nicodemus to Jesus that night. He needed to have a conversation, to verify what heíd heard. He and his friends believed Jesus to be a teacher from God, and they prided themselves in knowing the things of God. They had heard of the miracles, so even though he wasnít one of them, they knew there was something special. But Jesus turned the tables on Nicodemus, causing him to rethink his life.
This is what Nicodemus might have said:
ďOkay, now I get that you arenít telling me I have to be literally born againófrom my motherís womb. That's impossible. What do you mean, I have to change? Youíre not talking just a little, but change everything from the inside out. Iíve believed this way my whole life. Iíve worked on this. This is who I am. Iím a respected Pharisee, a member of the Jewish ruling council. I follow all the rules. Iíve fulfilled every law. Havenít I?
ďAnd whatís more, my friends believe the same way I do. Youíre telling me now that I have to go back to square one? Iím a good guy, the president of my neighborhood association. Never cause trouble. I received the good neighbor award. Now youíre telling me Iíve missed it? Youíre telling me I wonít see the Kingdom of God unless I go through this change?Ē
Nicodemus struggled to understand Jesusí comment that he must be born of water and the Spiritóborn from above. There are many of us who grew up thinking, if we did good things and didnít do anything that was too bad, if we treated people right, we would go to Heaven.
Jesus came to tell us there is no way to be good enough to meet Godís standard of good. Only he could save us from eternal deathóthe penalty of our sin. It wasnít going to be all the good work we did, but repentance and trust in Jesusí sacrifice on the cross that would save us.
The Bible isnít clear whether Nicodemus ever understood and became a born again believer. John 7:50-52 records he did defend Jesus before the Pharisees who sought to condemn him. And later, he helped Joseph of Arimathea take Jesusí body from the cross and prepare it for burial. Itís my opinion Iíll get to meet Nicodemus some day in the Kingdom.
To read this story in the Bible, go to John 3:1-21.