Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers

285/392

Jesus and Nicodemus

Nicodemus sought an interview with Jesus at night, saying, “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.” All this was true, as far as it went; but what said Jesus? He “answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Here was a man in a high position of trust, a man who was looked up to as one educated in Jewish customs, one whose mind was stored with wisdom. He was indeed in possession of talents of no ordinary character. He would not go to Jesus by day, for this would make him a subject of remark. It would be too humiliating for a ruler of the Jews to acknowledge himself in sympathy with the despised Nazarene. Nicodemus thinks, I will ascertain for myself the mission and claims of this Teacher, whether He is indeed the Light to lighten the Gentiles, and the Glory of Israel. TM 367.1

Jesus virtually says to Nicodemus: It is not controversy that will help your case: it is not arguments that will bring light to the soul. You must have a new heart, or you cannot discern the kingdom of heaven It is not greater evidence that will bring you into a right position, but new purposes, new springs of action. You must be born again. Until this change takes place, making all things new, the strongest evidences that could be presented would be useless. The want is in your own heart; everything must be changed, or you cannot see the kingdom of God. TM 368.1

This was a very humiliating statement to Nicodemus and with a feeling of irritation he takes up the words of Christ, saying, “How can a man be born when he is old?” He was not spiritually minded enough to discern the meaning of the words of Christ. But the Saviour did not meet argument with argument. Raising His hand in solemn, quiet dignity, He presses home the truth with greater assurance: “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. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is everyone that is born of the Spirit.” Nicodemus said unto Him, “How can these things be?” TM 368.2

Some gleams of the truth were penetrating the ruler's mind. Christ's words filled him with awe, and led to the inquiry, “How can these things be?” With deep earnestness Jesus answered, “Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?” His words convey to Nicodemus the lesson that, instead of feeling irritated over the plain words of truth, and indulging irony, he should have a far more humble opinion of himself, because of his spiritual ignorance. Yet the words of Christ were spoken with such solemn dignity, and both look and tone expressed such earnest love to him, that he was not offended as he realized his humiliating position. TM 368.3

Surely one entrusted with the religious interests of the people should not be ignorant of truth so important for them to understand as the condition of entrance into the kingdom of heaven. “Verily, verily, I say unto thee,” continued Jesus, “we speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?” TM 369.1