John 3:9-13 (New International Version)
“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked. “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? Very truly I tell you, 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.”
Nicodemus was a member of the Jewish ruling council. Because of his position within the religious elite, he did not want to be seen consulting with Jesus. He decided instead to sneak in at night to see this perplexing man.
I’m not sure what exactly Nicodemus was expecting from this encounter, but I’m very sure that the conversation went differently than he had planned. He was first confused by Jesus’ statement that a person would need to be born “again” or “from above” — the Greek word anothen. To which, Nicodemus responded: “Huh? How?” (Slight paraphrase.) Then Jesus went on to tell Nicodemus that God loved the world so much that he sent his Son, so that whoever believed in him would not die, but have eternal life. “What?!?”
I picture Nicodemus leaving his time with Jesus with a rather stunned look on his face, eyes glazed over, as he tried to piece together what in the world had happened in the interview.
One thing we know about Nicodemus: this conversation with Jesus changed him. We’re told in John 19:39 that after Jesus was crucified, Nicodemus and a man named Joseph of Arimethea took possession of Jesus’ body and prepared it for burial. These were actions usually performed by close family members. Nicodemus honored his crucified Messiah by caring for him in the midst of his own grief. And he did this boldly. Not under the cover of darkness.
What first attracted you to Jesus? What most attracts you now?