When: Sometime after he cleared the temple
Who: Ruler on the Jewish ruling council (71 members tasked the elite) V1
- “As under the Greek rulers the Jews were allowed a large measure of self-government, many points of civil and religious administration fell to the lot of the high priests and the gerousía to settle. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13444a.htm “
- “Teacher of Israel” v10 Only the most trained became teachers of the Law in general, the ruling council, and certainly “Teacher of Israel.
- the Jewish Encyclopedia and many Biblical historians have theorized that he is identical to Nicodemus ben Gurion, mentioned in the Talmud as a wealthy and popular holy man reputed to have had miraculous powers.
- Sanhedrin…put Jesus to death
- Sent by the ruling council “we know” to address the incident in the temple (Sadducees were the target)
- Possibly sent to recruit him
- Inspired by his message…a prodigy recognized by a Jewish master. ILLUSTRATION: The master musician and the hillbilly prodigy
v3-5 The kingdom is experienced by rebirth not reform ILLUSTRATION: The president of a college of theology
v5-8 Rebirth is spiritual not physical
- ILLUSTRATION: Jewish ceremonial rebirths.
- The Jews were fixated on the Messiah coming as a physical King of Israel (Triumphal entry)
- Pharisees were the experts in external
v13- 14Jesus is not from God he is God (Jesus finally answers implied question) Jesus must be lifted up on the cross (compare to Moses in Numbers 21)
Conclusion (The Cameos)
John 7:45-52 Nicodemus, knowing the law risks retribution to defend Jesus but was not yet willing to give up his status
John 19:38-42 Nicodemus gives Jesus the burial of a king
John 3:16: The message to Nicodemus is clear Jesus isn’t just from God he is God. He was lifted on the cross so that whoever like Jews on the serpent gazes on it will be saved through a rebirth through the spiritual cleansing of baptism. Our rebirth isn’t just a new addition to our life or a way to reform it…we die to the old life. If Nicodemus can do it so can we.