Late one night, Nicodemus stepped from a dark doorway into a brightly lit house where Jesus was spending the night. For myself, I’m not Jesus. I’m not Nicodemus either but I’ve a sneaky suspicion that I’ve got more in common with Nicodemus than I do with Jesus. Let’s just say I didn’t make everything that exists.
We find that Nicodemus steps from the darkness of his meandering thoughts and the late night of his wrestling fears into a room that’s bright with promise. He’s certain to have seen something of the miraculous Jesus has done; his response and follow up questions are so very human. First, he recognizes and states what he’s seen and experienced. “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.”
Nicodemus is trying his best to reason his way to God. He’s got his logic down: miracles are from God and I’ve seen Jesus do miracles therefore Jesus must be from God. Logic and reason are the efforts of our minds. Our minds are part of our divine nature. Mankind is a threefold creature and, as such, we resemble the trinity. We have our mind, soul and spirit. Our threefold nature was crippled by Adam when he chose to tell God that he didn’t want to be dependent on Him. Adam wanted to be able to make his own choices and not to rely on God. In eating the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil his spirit died, his soul was mortally wounded and his mind lost its ability to reason its way to God. We are Adam’s fallen descendants; we can reason but we cannot reason our way into God’s presence. That’s exactly the point Jesus makes: “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again…no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.”
Jesus knows our dead spirits needs to be born again. In being born again in our spirit, we can return our soul to health and our mind to its fertile and perfect function.
Their conversation ends with Jesus answering Nicodemus’ final question: “How can this be?” The end of Jesus’ reply is poetic and prophetic: “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”
Do you see it? Nicodemus stepped from a dark night into a room lit not only by candles and lanterns but also by God Himself. We find that in his questions, Nicodemus exposes both his and our fallen human nature.
Jesus sees him. Hears him. Jesus answers him.
He sees you. He hears you. Jesus will answer you.
When we accept His offer to have our spirit restored we are indeed born again. And in so doing, we step from darkness into light.