Meeting Jesus – Face to Face – By Ty Tamasaka
“3 Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”
3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” John 3:1-3 NIV
In the last devotion, we saw that Jesus didn’t entrust Himself to people who believed only on the basis of the signs He performed. At the end of John 2, we discovered that a faith based only on what Jesus can do, and not who He is, is not one that He entrusted Himself to.
As John 3 begins, we see Nicodemus coming to meet Jesus face to face. Nicodemus is exactly the kind of person Jesus DIDN”T entrust Himself to. Nicodemus, whom we discover was a Pharisee and member of the Jewish ruling council, came to Jesus at night. We know that Nicodemus was very religious and was a “member of the Jewish ruling council.” This tells us that he was a member of the elite seventy-member Jewish Supreme Court – the Sanhedrin. Being in this position would guarantee Nicodemus the highest regard and respect.
Nicodemus came to Jesus at night. Some suggest that Nicodemus came at night because he was afraid to be seen with Jesus during the day. That might be the case or perhaps Nicodemus was timid or wanted an uninterrupted interview with Jesus. Here’s what we can gain from the face to face meeting of Jesus and Nicodemus.
1 – Jesus welcomed late-night company.
When Nicodemus came to Jesus in the cool of the evening hours, there was a calm that could not be found in the heat of the day. As a religious leader, Nicodemus was probably teaching during the day and Jesus was likely pressed by the crowds. Evening may have been the only time Nicodemus could make private contact with Jesus.
This verse is comforting because we see that regardless of the case, Jesus welcomes late night visits. Whether we come to Jesus in the cover of night because we are timid and unsure, or if it is because we are too busy and pressured by the busyness of the day, Jesus welcomes us still. He welcomes us into face to face encounters with Him, despite the obstacles that have held us back.
Sometimes we might feel like we missed out on time with Jesus because the day started too early and was too busy. We learn that Jesus welcomed late-night company. Jesus welcomes His people when their hearts were free from distraction and they are able to better concentrate.
Do you need to come to Jesus at night? Are you unsure about who He is? You are still invited. Are you so busy and pressured during the day? You are still invited. Jesus welcomes late-night company.
2 – Jesus turned our attention to the Kingdom of God.
When Nicodemus meets Jesus, he compliments Jesus and the signs He performed. Even though Nicodemus was a highly respected leader in the community, he refers to Jesus as “Rabbi,” or “teacher.” We must keep in mind at this time Nicodemus didn’t know Jesus was the Son of God. He felt he had to meet Jesus based on the works Jesus was accomplishing.
Jesus quickly moves past the compliments and turns His attention to the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God, is anywhere the reign and rule of God has dominion.
“3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” John 1:3 NIV
3 – Jesus may not give you a new world, but He will give you new life.
In Jesus’ day, it was taught among the Jews that since they descended from Abraham, they were automatically secured a place in Heaven. Some Rabbi’s even taught that Abraham himself stood watch at the gates of Hell to ensure that none of his descendants would accidentally wander in. Since the Jews thought they were assured of Heaven as a birthright, they viewed the coming Messiah as One who would bring in a new world in which the Jew would be unrivaled and unmatched.
Jesus instead came to bring in new life in which He would be unrivaled and unmatched.
Jesus taught it is NOT man’s first birth that assured him a place in Heaven, but his second birth or his being “born again.” The Greek word “again” (anothen) can be translated to “from above.” The term “born again” carries the same meaning as “born from above.” Being “born from above” meant receiving new life in Christ. Have you been “born from above”?
We’ll explore more about what that means according to Jesus in the next devotions.
Lord Jesus thank You that You welcome late night company. Thank You that You welcome me with my doubts and hesitations. Thank You that You remain despite the chaos in my days. Lord may Your Kingdom come as You release a new life in me. In the amazing name of Jesus Christ, amen.