Conflict and Courage


Secret Interview, October 12

John 3:1-21

He saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit. Titus 3:5, R.S.V. CC 291.1

Nicodemus held a high position of trust in the Jewish nation. He was highly educated, and possessed talents of no ordinary character, and he was an honored member of the national council. With others, he had been stirred by the teaching of Jesus.... CC 291.2

He greatly desired an interview with Jesus, but shrank from seeking Him openly.... He waited until the city was hushed in slumber, and then sought Him.... CC 291.3

“Rabbi,” he said, “we know that thou art a teacher come from God.” ... His words were designed to express and to invite confidence; but they really expressed unbelief. He did not acknowledge Jesus to be the Messiah, but only a teacher sent from God.... CC 291.4

Jesus bent His eyes upon the speaker, as if reading his very soul. In His infinite wisdom He saw before Him a seeker after truth.... He came directly to the point, saying solemnly, yet kindly, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3, margin).... CC 291.5

Nicodemus had heard the preaching of John the Baptist concerning repentance and baptism.... Yet the heart-searching message of the Baptist had failed to work in him conviction of sin. He was a strict Pharisee, and prided himself on his good works. He was widely esteemed for his benevolence and his liberality in sustaining the temple service, and he felt secure of the favor of God. He was startled at the thought of a kingdom too pure for him to see in his present state.... CC 291.6

By virtue of his birth as an Israelite he regarded himself as sure of a place in the kingdom of God. He felt that he needed no change. Hence his surprise at the Saviour's words. He was irritated by their close application to himself. The pride of the Pharisee was struggling against the honest desire of the seeker after truth.20Ibid., 167-171. CC 291.7