Monday, March 1, 2021

“A Man”, Not Nicodemus

Now, there was a man of the Pharisees whose name was Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. He came to him by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no man can do these miracles that you are doing except God be with him.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I tell you, unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”  Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter his mother’s womb a second time and be born, can he?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I tell you, unless a man be born of water and of spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.  What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.  Don’t marvel that I told you, ‘You must be born again’ ” – John 3:1–7.                                                                    

From a sermon by “Preacher Clark” in about 1974

I used to think that Jesus told Nicodemus, “Unless you are born of water and of Spirit, you cannot see the kingdom of God,” but in 1974, Preacher Clark pointed out that that was not the case.  He had noticed that Jesus’ message to Nicodemus was only that Nicodemus had to be born again, and the reason for that was that Nicodemus had already been born the first time (“born of water”).  What Jesus told Nicodemus is that “a man” had to be born twice, once naturally and once spiritually.  Nicodemus and his fellow Jews had already been born the first time, obviously.  Therefore, Jesus told him, “You [plural, in Greek] must be born again.”  We might say it like this: “You people [who have been born already] must be born again.”

A man who pays careful attention to the Scriptures, as Preacher Clark did, and is helped by the Spirit to see what is really there, will notice things that the rest of us miss.  How grateful I am to have sat at the feet of such a teacher.  Doing so has saved me more times than I can count from being led off the right path by what I thought the Bible said.