Come Now while the Night is Dark

Posted: July 15, 2010 in Blessings, Christian Beliefs, From Adventism to Christ, The Bible

Come Now while the Night is Dark

John 3:1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.
John 3:2 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.”
John 3:3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
John 3:4 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?”
John 3:5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
John 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
John 3:7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’
John 3:8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
John 3:9 Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?”
John 3:10 Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things?
John 3:11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony.
John 3:12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things?
John 3:13 No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.
John 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
John 3:15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
John 3:18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
John 3:19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.
John 3:20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.
John 3:21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

John 3: 1-21

This is a pretty long section to break down but I really don’t think that tackling it any other way is appropriate. However I think you’ll find that while the breakdown may be long it will feed you spiritually and bring you to a deeper understanding of Salvation. Oh and you’ll get a look at the sense of humor that Jesus had which comes through in a number of verses in this passage.


Passage Breakdown

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

Nicodemus was as noted a member of the Pharisees, the Pharisees came from a break up and split of the Israelites. There was a separation between Sadducees (from the priests) and the Pharisees (from the scribes.) The Pharisees broke down the laws into many obscure laws, there were 153 or so to do only with the Sabbath Day. In other words they created their own rules and kept them thus elevating themselves above others.

John 3:2 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.”

Note that Nicodemus came by night; he probably did this to keep from being seen. As the passage continues it will be easy to see that Jesus welcomes Nicodemus questions even though they come at night. This means He will also accept you whenever you want to ask Him any question, or want to make a choice to accept Him as your savior.

If we look at Nicodemus welcome if you will it’s pretty hard to notice that from my perspective he’s buttering Jesus up.

“Oh we know that you are a great teacher from God, no one can do such things without God being in you”. (Paraphrased)

Even addressing Jesus Nicodemus can’t help but make himself sound all teacherly and awesome.

John 3:3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

I’m thinking about this time Jesus has a small smile on his face as He’s thinking of how this Teacher approached Him. However you’ll also notice that Jesus ignores the introduction and starts teaching right away. This probably made pause for a moment, especially what Jesus was saying.

You see the great teachers of the time were focused all on keeping the laws, and making even more laws to prove that by keeping them they’re even holier than the other teachers and their own followers. What is this being born again business is probably exactly what Nicodemus was thinking.

John 3:4 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?”

We can see Nicodemus is trying his best to make heads or tails of this strange teaching but being that he makes laws upon laws his logic side tells him this is illogical. So like Spock he gets coldly logical in his reply to Jesus.

I’ll note that I would probably have responded exactly the same way, sometimes-logical answers are correct. Let’s see how Jesus answers this response.

John 3:5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
John 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
John 3:7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’
John 3:8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Jesus is an awesome guy he doesn’t chastise Nicodemus, unlike most teachers he didn’t get impatient and say to him that’s a really stupid question. In fact he gives him a nicely constructed and complete answer to the question. He makes the following clarifications:

1: You must be born of water and the spirit to enter the kingdom of God.
2: Born of flesh is flesh and born of spirit is spirit.
3: Don’t be shocked that flesh cannot enter the kingdom.
4: When you are reborn of the spirit, the spirit moves you. The spirit moves like the wind blowing one way and then the other. In other words the person born again is led by the Spirit.

John 3:9 Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?”

I can imagine what’s going through Nicodemus’ mind right now because what he says betrays his way of thinking. That legalistic not to mention literalistic streak is overwhelming his thought processes. All that Jesus this person he called a great teacher moments ago is saying is putting all he believes in into a place of unimportance. I mean everything that the Pharisees did was for the most part elevating their own flesh to show just how good they are; that they are the only ones fit for eternity.

Here Jesus has pretty much said with a loving smile that if you elevate your flesh you’re fit to be tied, you’re going to loose out.

So many legalistic denominations focus on the outward appearance, on keeping all the rules. Many of these rules are there on top of rules, the Devil loves legalism because it takes the focus away from the things of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit.

John 3:10 Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things?
John 3:11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony.

First Jesus is a little shocked he notes that Nicodemus is perhaps the greatest teacher of Israel at that moment, and yet he doesn’t get it?

Then Jesus says basically: in total honesty I say to you we (Jesus and His disciples) speak of what we know, and we bear witness to what we’ve seen on our travels. You know we’re being honest, and truthful and yet you don’t accept our testimony.

John 3:12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things?
John 3:13 No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.
John 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
John 3:15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

If I’ve told you about earthly things, (Nicodemus had probably witnessed Jesus teaching and healing) and yet you don’t believe, there’s little chance that you’ll understand my teachings on heavenly things.

Nicodemus I’d imagine was hanging on every word of this teaching trying to assimilate them into his beliefs.

It doesn’t help that Jesus refers to His ascension to Heaven before it’s happened. If Jesus had left it there it would make no sense, however he goes back to The Law. As Moses lifted up the serpent on the cross in the wilderness so must the Son of Man (I) be lifted up, that whoever believes in Me might have eternal life.

All Nicodemus thoughts of piety, laws upon laws, and looking holy in front of the people are going up in smoke. He must believe in the man speaking to him for eternal life.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
John 3:18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

These three verses are the lynchpin of faith and believe, they are the key to eternal life. So often we see signs at football games saying John 3:16, and that verse by itself is full of impact but its full context is revealed by verses 17 and 18.

Jesus basically says: God loves the world so much that he lovingly gave a way out of sin through His only begotten Son. Whoever believes the truth of the sacrifice of the Son will not perish but gain eternal life. God didn’t send Me to condemn the world but to save it my faultless sacrifice. Whoever believes in Me is not condemned, but whoever tosses Me aside is condemned already, because he has not believed in the power of my saving name.

Nicodemus listening realizes just how much of a dramatic not to mention dynamic change this only road to salvation is. It’s too much for him to digest in one sitting. And yet Jesus gives him a few more mouthfuls.

John 3:19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.
John 3:20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.
John 3:21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

Jesus continues I can imagine an almost sad inflection to these words.

The sad truth is that while the light has come into the world people loved the darkness rather than the light because they love to sin. Those who do sinful things hate the light of truth and justice because it exposes them and the things they do as evil.

(That’s why most have done away with the creator, God, and His Son, Jesus. So they can set their own morals and essentially be gods unto themselves.)

There are however those who are coming running to the light, they long to show their works as works that have been carried out for God and through God.

In Conclusion

Nicodemus left that night in a state of indecision, yet by the time of Jesus death on the cross I’m quite certain he’s reached a belief in Christ. I can’t wait to chat with Nicodemus in Heaven and ask what he was thinking of after that teaching in the night.

You’ll notice that Jesus doesn’t show and anger or frustration about teaching Nicodemus as He does in the middle of the night. In fact he shares one of the greatest Bible teachings ever in the cold of the dark night, when He might have preferred to be asleep or talking to His Father in prayer.

This is good news for anyone who comes to Jesus no matter what time of the day or night; Jesus like the Word of God never changes. He will still welcome you in with open arms whenever you choose to turn to Him.

My plea is that you come to Him soon, the sooner the better in fact. Every day I visit news sites from around the globe and things in Israel are moving quickly towards more of the Biblical end times prophecy being fulfilled. This is both exciting and alarming because it means that Jesus is soon coming for His Bride, the church. If you don’t turn to Him and give Him your life before this Snatching Up, this Gathering Together, this Rapture of the Church, then you will be partaking of at least part of the Wrath of God before you’re either Martyred for His Word…or perhaps fall away from the pressures of this world of Sin.

It is my prayer that you don’t delay another day, because this day may be your last on this earth.

In Christ,

Ross

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