Everything Jesus said was more profound, more earth- shaking, more powerful, and more far-reaching than any of us can even begin to imagine, although some of us do begin to imagine and do look into the words of Jesus. Nicodemus was a man who wanted to look into the words of Jesus. The picture you get of Nicodemus was that of a man who sought Jesus by night. I think it reasonable to assume that the reason he sought Jesus by night was in order to avoid public opinion. It’s interesting when you look at the story of Nicodemus; if you look at it from the point of view of him being a person who secretly sought Jesus out, as coming from a kind of a secret desire to find out: something had stirred deep inside of him and perhaps he had found himself grappling with this and possibly he couldn’t shake it off. Perhaps on the one hand he didn’t want to shake it off and perhaps on the other hand he did. Nicodemus was a Pharisee, a ruler of the Jewish people, and here he was secretly going out into the night. People who go out secretly into the night often go to places that are out of the public eye and quite often they go to the more seedy side of town, as having shame attached to their dealings or doings there. So here was Nicodemus defying public opinion and, oh dear, here he is talking to Jesus by night; talking to someone who was going against the grain of normal society. Nicodemus was clearly puzzled about Jesus; on the one hand Jesus was performing many many miracles and on the other hand Jesus was challenging the status quo and the very foundation that Nicodemus was standing upon; so you could say that the words of Jesus, as profound and as powerful as they are and were in Nicodemus’ day, had created a kind of a ripple effect, or better said, had created a kind of an earthquake beneath Nicodemus’ very feet. This earthquake had shaken the very foundation on which he stood.
The picture you get is that of Nicodemus coming to Jesus in a kind of a private setting so as not to be heard or seen by others. You kind of picture him knocking on Jesus’ door and Jesus opening the door and Nicodemus looking over his shoulder, and then huddling himself into Jesus’ abode: and so he begins to enquire and ask Jesus some very searching questions. He says to Jesus, “Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.” Here we read of Nicodemus, who’d barely uttered a few words to Jesus and as a man who was kind of beating about the bush, as they say. The picture you get is that of Jesus coming straight to the point and to the heart and soul of the whole matter. Jesus knew why Nicodemus had come and why he was stood right there in Jesus’ very presence and into the very heart of the house, so to speak, and so Jesus utters one of the most profound statements ever made, not only to Nicodemus, but to mankind as a whole – “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God” – Jesus is talking spiritual here! Nicodemus, talking in the physical sense as the Pharisees’ of his day always did, says to Jesus, “How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?” Now Jesus answers him and tells him not only what He meant by these very words, but also tells him the very reason why he was even born into this world. Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.” What Jesus meant by this and why He said ‘verily, verily’ twice before His statement was to stress the great importance of what He was saying. When Jesus says something like the words ‘verily, verily’ twice, it means that He is stressing great emphasis upon what He is saying. The words ‘verily, verily’ mean ‘truly, truly,’ or in other words, very very true, very profound, very powerful and far reaching words. So what Jesus was actually saying was that it is very very important that we are first born of water, as being born into this world via our very mother and as coming out of her womb and into this world. When we are in our mother’s womb we are in a kind of a water bag in there. We literally live in this bag full of water for nine months and after nine months of being in this water bag, the bag breaks: this is what people mean when they say “her water’s have broken” in reference to a woman who is about to give birth. So after nine months a woman goes into labour, her waters break and we are born of water, as Jesus put it. So Jesus is saying here that it is very very important and needful to our salvation that we come into this world as being born of the flesh and that we become as flesh ourselves. So in order to be born of the spirit, we first have to be born of the flesh. Talking in the fleshly sense of the word ‘flesh,’ means that we are born with a kind of an earthbound mind with survival instincts and with desires to stay alive physically. In this same sense of the word ‘flesh’ and being fleshly, we are earthbound and so Jesus says, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh (earthly and earthbound)” and then He says in the same verse “and that which is born of the spirit is spirit.” Being born of the spirit means that we cease to have a materialistic outlook on life and that we come to the realisation that there is not only an earthly and material side to life but that there is a more important side to life; a spiritual side to life, that we also need to be born into this spiritual side to life and start anew there, just like we did when we were born of the flesh. We now need to be born of the Spirit as a new born baby and child of God born into the spiritual realm and start growing spiritually and not so much physically as we once did. Jesus goes on to say, “Marvel not that I said unto thee, ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth (makes a whistling sound), and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and wither it goeth: so is everyone that is born of the spirit.” So here we have Jesus Himself who is the One, in a sense, making the whistling sound and is talking of the wind (God), which you cannot see with your eyes. We know the wind is blowing and we know it is real although we can’t see it with our eyes but we can hear sometimes. So Jesus’ words speak of the Spirit, the Spirit being God (The Wind). So if we receive Jesus’ words and accept them as spiritually coming from God, then we can be born again into the spiritual side to life and into God’s spiritual Kingdom.
Jesus came unto many people in His day and He even came unto His own (the Jews) and his own received him not. But as many as received him (including Nicodemus) to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. You might ask: what does it mean when it says, “which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God?” This means that God Himself planned the very day that you were born! Although you came into this world and were born of the flesh and through your earthly mother and father, this is not what put you here. When we read “which were born, not of blood” this means that you were not born to be of some special bloodline; when we read “nor the will of the flesh” this means that it wasn’t down to mere mother nature, by accident, the birds and the bees etc; when we read “nor the will of man” this means that you were not put here by planned parenthood, the will of your mother and father etc; and when we read “but of God” this means that it was God who planned your birth into this world as a human being and has a special plan for your life here. Everything that happens to you from the time that you were born will have been planned by God, the very parent’s you have, the country you are born into, the class of people that you grew up amongst, the very conditions that you live under; all will have been planned by God and in this same sense will all lead you into a time when you are offered an important choice regarding your own future, as to whether you yourself choose to be born again into God’s spiritual Kingdom or not. God has put us here with the ability to make decisions and with a sovereign will of our own through which we can have the majesty of choice and have the ability to choose between right and wrong. We are here to grow in our understanding of what is right and what is wrong, what is true and what is false, what is real and what is unreal. And so we learn to choose and grow in all of this.
Going back to Nicodemus’ conversation with Jesus: Nicodemus answered and said unto him, “How can these things be? Jesus answered and said unto him, Art though a master of Israel and knowest not these things?” So here was Nicodemus, an apparent spiritual ruler of the Jews who didn’t for the life of him understand anything of the spiritual realities of which he apparently stood for, so his whole world was being turned upside-down, inside-out and back-to-front by Jesus’ words, at least this is how Nicodemus must have felt; whereas the true reality was that Nicodemus’ world was already upside-down, inside-out and back-to-front – Jesus was merely turning everything around and into the right way. The right way was for Nicodemus to understand that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Nicodemus was the very first person on earth to hear these very profound words of Jesus. What Jesus meant by these words was that He Himself was God’s only begotten Son, in other words, the only Son that God had fathered through an earthly mother (Mary). God loved the world so much that He would allow (give) His only Son to die physically on our behalf. Jesus died physically so that we could all live spiritually. If we choose to live only for our flesh then we will invariably choose a life of selfishness, as our fleshly existence is largely to do with selfish survival. Love is not something that is inherent in us as humans; living forever is also not inherent in us as humans. Jesus was saying that He was going to die on our behalf so that we could be born again spiritually and live unselfishly through His Love, as unto God and not as unto ourselves and not only this, Jesus was going to die and rise again so that we too could rise again and so live forever as He does. And so: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
You can read about Nicodemus in the book of John chapter 3 KJV. If you feel that these words speak to you and you find yourself of the same understanding then you can simply ask Jesus into your life through, in the same sense, asking Him into your heart. Possibly you are already aware of how mundane and earthly your life is and possibly you understand that you have a hard time overcoming selfishness as we all do. Through asking Jesus into your heart, you will have asked Love to come into your heart. God is the Great Spirit of Love who created us all; through having Jesus in your heart, you will have God in your heart, through having God in your heart, you will have the Great Spirit of Love Himself in your heart. It is through Jesus and through Love that we can overcome sin and selfishness and be born into a Whole New World of the Spirit, which is the Kingdom of God!