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Jesus Said, "You Must Be Born-Again" - A Brief Study On Nicodemus
This story is true. It is an account of a man who met Jesus. He was aware of His birth, of His childhood, of His lineage but when Jesus introduced Himself to the world, this man was willfully blind. The following story is based on a man that held a place of high responsibility in his community. Somewhat like a professor but also a town consultant on all matters historical and spiritual. It was up to him with a few others to watch for the appearance of the Messiah. To qualify for the job this man needed to recite huge parts of the old testament on a daily basis. Consequently he had to have pretty much the whole Old Testament memorized. This man was incredibly intelligent and should have been one of the first to recognize, accept and to receive Him. Only after the resurrection of Christ and considering the many proofs that were made in the form of miracles and wonders, did this man realize he had made a terrible mistake by rejecting Him. He was willfully spiritually blind but then received his sight. It took a whole new beginning for him but Jesus gave him a chance for a second start. I hope you enjoy the story:
I write this for Israel's child, lest we shoud forget
All the events that happened here, have I faithfully set
On parchment, with quill in hand, and verify them true,
For my mind flies with wings, and my heart was made a-new,
I first met Him on a Sabbath day, though I knew him years before
But only that he was Joseph's child, that and nothing more,
He was nothing much to look at, a rather normal lad
But I never heard of mischief, nor of him behaving bad,
I saw His parents brought offerings, for the Sabbath day
They offered nothing, for the boy's sin in any way,
At twelve years old he wandered in, his face all aglow
He seemed excited to be there, with old men he didn't know,
I remember reminding myself, that this was Joseph's boy
But he spoke with such authority, his voice was full of joy,
He often spoke to us again, after that day he upset his mom
Until one day he came in again, and said with voice so calm,
"I come to proclaim the day of the Lord, has come upon you all
For to the lost and sinners of earth, I loudly give a call."
I was filled with anger and such rage, just who did He think He was?
He spoke as though He were God, the whole room was a-buzz
"Stone him!" someone yelled. "Throw him out!" another said,
"For anyone that blasphemes thus, it is better he be dead."
I have to admit my anger burned, and smoldered with such heat
That I had cried, "Stone him!" too and had jumped up off my seat,
So we threw Him out and we thought Him gone, rumors soon filled the air
They said He healed the blind, raised the dead, cured sickness everywhere,
Though I knew Him to be of royal blood, passed on in David's line
I didn't think Him to be the Christ, so I went to seek His mind
Under cover of darkness I went to Him, so He would talk to me
I knew I'd find a loophole then, and the Messiah He wouldn't be!
He looked through me with His eyes, and I looked away, and then,
He said, "Nicodemus, you must know, you must be born again."
I walked away and left Him, more confused than I was before
So I went home and got my parchments, and studied all the more,
For the next two years I read, of how the Christ would come, and I
Studied of His ministry and death, and it brought tears to my eyes,
I recognized this man Jesus, was exactly what He said
But time was running out for Him, and soon He would be dead,
In the middle of the night it was, I heard the sounds of rage
As my brothers in the flesh, were writing history's page
And to my shame I did nothing, to protest the vile deed
As I watched them drag around the King, and drive Him to His knees,
I heard as Pilate examined Him, and said, "Behold the man!"
And the crowd said,"Crucify him, as quickly as you can!"
I should have said something then, but I was seized with fear
That all of them would turn on me, as soon as they would hear,
So I stood and watched, as they nailed Him to that tree
And I realized that instead of Him, they should be nailing me!
So I ran home and hid my face, away from the angry crowd
To drown out their maddened cries, with my weeping's lonely sound,
And though I claimed His body, it did little to hide my grief
I had helped to slay my God - His time here was far too brief,
But then a wondrous thing happened, when a mere three days had passed
Though His tomb was greatly guarded, His death just didn't last,
When I saw Him with my brothers, He had walked right through the wall
And He said to me, "Nicodemus, listen to God's call
Help My little children, meditate on My Word."
And I promised the Lord my Savior, I do everything I'd heard.
* all [bracketed] words in Scripture verses are mine *
Nicodemus was a master in Israel. He was a teacher and mentor to many young rabbis. The council on which he sat kept track of the lineage of the people in the family of David. He knew that Mary was in the royal line of David, as well as the man raising Jesus as his own son, Joseph. Had Israel not been under Roman rule and domination, Mary and Joseph would have been king and queen. Jesus would have been Prince Jesus, born to be the King of the Jews. Other things Nicodemus knew; he knew and taught the students the Law and knew all the prophecies regarding the coming Messiah. Built into every one of the ritual traditions were places of accentuated worship and pauses to reflect its meaning. Every one of those pauses highlighted a prophecy regarding this Jesus who now had arrived to be accepted of His own people. Nicodemus knew and taught each one of these prophecies and traditions. Historians say a master in Israel had the whole Old Testament memorized. Let's face it, Nicodemus had to have known who this Jesus was, a long time before he began to allow belief to seep in. By then it was too late to at least voice an objection to His crucifixion.
At some point we are all like Nicodemus, we don't believe our own eyes and heart. Jesus will give us reason to accept Him and we argue that He isn't who He claims He is. He can't be...there must be another way! We think in our hearts that we don't need anything, that we are fine just the way we are. We look around at all the other people in the world that are kind and funny and fun to be around and say, "There are so many people in this world and so many ways to worship, why does it have to be this Way?"
"Jesus said to him, 'I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (John 14:6)
After Nicodemus stepped into the limelight as a disciple and realized how the Scripture was fulfilled in King Jesus, the apostles began to write letters of encouragement to the brand new churches that were popping up everywhere. I'm sure Nicodemus was one of the people that helped illuminate who Jesus was because he was a master instructor. Now he knew that Jesus was the Lamb without spot or blemish that was offered up once for all time. He realized that every lamb ever slaughtered by the high priest for the sin of the people was saying Christ is coming- and now all the prophecies about Him were fulfilled in Jesus. He also realized the amazing truth that, although Jesus was of the tribe of Judah and not Levi as all other priest before Him, He was also a priest, God's Great High Priest to mediate our redemption. He is our Redeemer to save us from our sins.
"This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil [the veil that goes into the most holy pictured Christ entering heaven with the value of His shed blood], where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become the High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek." (Hebrews 6:19-20)
He learned that sin could not be forgiven forever by killing a lamb once a year. Those animals were a picture of the true Lamb that would remove sin forever from any man who asked to be forgiven. Just as a person had to bring the sacrifice to the priest and ask him to offer it for his sin offering to cover his sin, so a person must come to the High Priest Jesus and ask for the Blood of the Lamb to cover his sin.
Nicodemus must have really been confused when Jesus said to him, "You must be born again." (Jn 3:7) After his own spiritual rebirth, Nicodemus was probably one of the ones shouting it the loudest, because he was the one Jesus specifically told about being born again. (He was a master instructor for his whole nation so he was the perfect person to tell so that he would be able to teach others after his conversion). This is what Nicodemus learned when he went to study about how to be born again:
1. All men are born sinners each inheriting the sin of Adam as progenitor of the human race.
"Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned." (Romans 5:12)
2. There is no way for man to pay for his own sin except by the shedding of blood but the blood of bulls and goats would not be enough to permanantly forgive sin. It had to be the Messiah's blood, God's blood.
"And according to the Law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission [of sin]."(Hebrews 9:22)
"For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins. Therefore, when He came into the world, He [Jesus] said: 'Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for Me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. Then I [Jesus] said, 'Behold, I come- in the volume of the book it is written of me- to do Your will, O God.'" (Hebrews 10:4-7)
3. He learned that the Messiah would be more than a man. He would be God in human flesh.
"For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily." (Colossians 2:9)
4. It probably was a bittersweet moment when he realized that Jesus was the one that had to be born and that he had to die- for it was determined at the beginning of time that He would have to do this to save mankind.
"All who dwell on the earth will worship him [antichrist], whose names were not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world [this way out of sin for mankind was planned from the very beginning of creation]." (Revelation 13:8)
5. Then Nicodemus learned that in order to come to Christ to be born-again it was like when he brought a lamb for his own sin in the manner of old Israel. For the sacrifice to count and temporarily remove sin for that year, a person had to admit his sin before God. He had to confess that he needed to be forgiven so that he could receive the value of that sacrifice of blood.
If you believe as Nicodemus believed and want to be forgiven you can pray a prayer as he did. Nicodemus prayed something like this:
Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner and I know that You are God in human flesh, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. I cannot save myself from my sin and I need a Savior. Please Jesus, forgive my sin and save me. I believe that You died and You were raised the third day from the dead. I turn from my sin and the way I was living to follow You Jesus so that You will be Lord and Master of my life. Thank you and I pray this in Your holy name, Jesus. Amen.