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John’s gospel Post 20: After dark

September 16, 2013

“Nicodemus came by night so he couldn’t be seen by men” – Bob Dylan – In the garden (from the album “Saved”)

John 3: 1 & 2

Ok. Time for more miracles don’t you think. We need to get into the action. Then surely we’ll see the why of it all.

Wrong. Whatever Jesus was saying during the day. Whatever he was doing, John bypasses it. If Jesus spoke to the crowds – if multitudes saw his miracles, John doesn’t talk about it.

He talks about a late night secret meeting. A one on one. Face to face. I’ve got a strange feeling as we start off on John 3. You know how it took us so long to get through chapter 1? I’ve got a feeling we’re going to be stopping off a good while here too.

Jesus had his followers – still very few named. there were those who believed. And there were those who he angered – who challenged his authority. John merely describes them as some of the Jews.

Now we are going to meet one Jew in particular. A Pharisee. The Pharisees were a group of people who knew the religious laws inside out. The disciples remarked at Jesus’ zeal for God’s house. The Pharisees had a zeal for God’s law. For rules and regulations. The most religious of people so you might anticipate, the ones most likely to recognise messiah when he came.

This one was called Nicodemus. He was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He was a man of standing in the religious and legal community.

He came to Jesus at night. We don’t know why but the suggestions are that

1. He didn’t want too be seen – perhaps his visit would not have been approved of?

2. He wanted to catch Jesus on his own – away from the crowds. This was to be a proper talk.

A Pharisee – someone who prides himself on knowing it all, comes to Jesus and calls him Rabbi. Teacher. More remarkably he salutes Jesus as a teacher sent from God. This is interesting as John has not actually shared any of Jesus teaching with us yet, unless you count the destroy and rebuild the temple bit yet. John really could do with filling us in on some of the detail!

Was Nicodemus genuine? Was he buttering Jesus up. There is no particular reason to suspect that Nicodemus was being anything other than straight.

But he also refers to the signs Jesus was doing (which we haven’t been told anything about either except for the secret wedding day miracle). You’re a teacher from God and your miracles could only be done by someone if God was with him. A pretty ringing endorsement from Pharisee Nicodemus. Was that what you were expecting?

You need to keep your eyes and ears open around Jesus. He is the teacher. After all he is the word. Do you need to listen to him?

His miracles may have been fantastic but John has hardly used any ink on them yet. Because the miracles in themselves are not the thing. They are signs pointing the way. It seems Nicodemus had seen those signs. Here was someone sent by God. With a mission. The important thing with Jesus miracles is what they tell you about Jesus. Take a look.

It’s a great opening speech, but as we’ve seen before Jesus likes to cut to the chase. Get ready for Jesus to drop the bombshell.

 

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From → Christianity

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