Some passages in the Bible speak directly to me more than others. This is one of those passages. When Jesus teaches Nicodemus, it feels like he is having a private conversation with me. Nicodemus is no slouch. He is a learned student and teacher of scripture and a leader in the nation of Israel. And he is astute enough to recognize Jesus as coming from God. And yet, he can’t seem to understand Jesus’ teachings. He is not challenging Jesus. He really wants to learn. I feel the same way. I want to learn but, too often. I don’t seem to be able to understand.
Jesus gives him, and us, many of the basics. We see John 3:16 everywhere. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
But there is so much more.
We must be born again of the water and the Spirit.
The wind blows wherever it pleases. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.
Jesus speaks of what He knows, and He testifies to what He has seen.
No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man, Jesus.
The Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.
God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
This is a lot to absorb, even for us who know the story. I can’t imagine how overwhelming it was for Nicodemus. This Lent let us have the courage of Nicodemus. Let us go to Jesus and ask to be taught.