By Benjamin H. Liles
"There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, 'Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.' Jesus answered and said to him, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.' Nicodemus said to Him, 'How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?' Jesus answered, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, "You must be born again." The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit."
"Nicodemus answered and said to Him, 'How can these things be?' Jesus answered and said to him, 'Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things? Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness. If I had told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God'" (John 3:1-21, New King James).
Jesus is trying to get Nicodemus to see that every man who believes in Him should not come to destruction but to have eternal life. The word that scholars translate into "should perish" is the Greek word ἀπόλλυμι and the tansliteration is apollumi, having the phonetic spelling ap-ol'-loo-mee. The short definition of the word is "I destroy, lose, am perishing." The Helps word-studies of this Greek word says, "apollumi (from /apo, "Away from," which intensifies ollymi, "to destroy")--properly, fully destroy, cutting off entirely. So, we see God in John 3:16 sends His Son, Jesus the Christ so that anyone believing in the Son should not be cut off completely, destroyed, but this person receives life with God, the Holy Spirit, and the Son Jesus Christ.
Why did Nicodemus come to Jesus Christ in the veil of nightfall to talk with Him? In my opinion it comes down to those people associated Himself with. If we recall, together, that Jesus touched, healed, spoke with sinners then the Pharisees wouldn't--technically speaking--desire to speak or be around Jesus Christ. They would have seen Jesus in the same light as they see sinners, being sinful. But God declared the Son righteous and He always did the Father's will, as Jesus told His cousin John: "Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor" (Luke 7:22, Berean Study).
Also in my opinion is that Nicodemus didn't want anyone seeing him associate with Jesus. I think he was ashamed to have to receive better understanding from God's man, Jesus Christ. And that's the greatest thing about what Jesus says all to Nicodemus. Paul says in Romans, "But God proves His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also, along with Him, freely give all things?" (Romans 5:8, 8:32).
So, in the whole discourse between Nicodemus and Christ, we see Jesus teaching him to better understand how salvation comes from God. Jesus told Nicodemus, basically, "You can't be born again through a physical birth; for flesh is born by flesh, and the spirit that man receives comes from the Spirit." It all comes down to the fact that God gives us the Son, not because we did anything special or deserving to receive life through the Son. God came to mankind a little over two thousand years ago, while under the rule of Rome, with the Pharisees and Sadducees holding their own court in Jerusalem to show us all just how much under the law they truly were.
Jesus Christ, was born of a woman, but also born of God's Spirit, having promised Mary she had found favor with God. He declared her righteous so that she would give birth to the King of Creation, Jesus Christ, by the Spirit of God. Let us consider that if by the name of Jesus Christ, who when He spoke or did anything to or for other people they were healed, then it means disease, sickness, death, and even sin couldn't hold up before the Son of Man who is also the Son of God. Everything that God allowed the Son to do was because God ordained and ordered things to be so.
God gave His Son, Jesus Christ, as we have read in the text of John 3:1-21, so that anyone who hates their deeds, their works, and decides God's justice prevails should no longer be alive to themselves, but alive to God. These who are blood bought by Christ have eternal life with the Father. They have claimed they much rather the grace and mercy of Him who offers forgiveness and restoration over hiding away from Him in their evil hearts. They chose God simply because--He chose them first with His Son, Jesus Christ.
Are you tired of running your life as if it were your own? Are you so heavy hearted in the deeds and ways of which you live that you are looking for answers? Listen up then. God knows you better than you know yourself. You are tired disenfranchised with this world and its ways and systems. You realize something is wrong and missing from your life. God is so not in your life and He's allowing you to see it because He knows that your need is for Him. He's not like your earthly father who may have frustrated you, your dreams, or perhaps even told you, "You are nothing!" God loves you so much He forgives you of the grossest sin imaginable. You are not so far gone that God can do nothing in and through you. God loves and chooses you because of what He's done. It has nothing to do with what you've done. You don't have to do much for God to smile when He looks at you. And He does. When He thinks of Joe, or Sally, Farmer Ted, or dear old Hailey, He smiles big and wide saying, "This is my child."
If only we could make up our minds, when He's renewing us, to see Him and call out to Him. We might be willing to give up those things that never satisfy us. I admit my former life, before God, was nothing special. Everything I did turned either sour or dust. Nothing mattered. Everything i could think of doing was wrong. It wasn't necessarily evil, but those things wouldn't have benefited you or me. But when I allowed God the right to work in my life I saw what was evil within me; my flesh is evil. It has a desire of "I have to be the one in control." Selfishness comes from our hearts, works its way into our minds and spews from our mouths.
Anymore, however, I desire to do that which pleases God through Jesus Christ. He has done far more for me in my life and walk. It is why I proclaim the good news. The gospel of the Bible is this: I have sinned. I have grieved God in all ways. He has chosen to forgive me not because I deserved it, but because He wants His name known. I go about God's business because He has indeed given me a new heart. My heart desires to do His will. He has cleansed me from all unrighteousness so I bear His righteousness. He has restored all things for and in me. So now do I do those things I feel and believe He's called me to do.
Arise, O sinner! Arise and wake from your slumber! God calls out to you so you can hear His voice. Arise, those who are lame and walk in the name of Jesus Christ. He heals your feet so you can run with the message of the Christ to proclaim before men. Arise, you who once couldn't hear! For now you are able to speak aloud those things which you once couldn't hear God saying through the Son Jesus Christ so others might marvel at the goodness and grace of God. Surely, if others do not listen and come to Jesus Christ are condemned for they choose their own ways over God's. But you, you're different. you are called and chosen. Rise up, listen up, gather round. Follow God in Jesus Christ and be sure to tell it proud of what He's done for you. I pray this helps and shows the depth of God's love for and to you. In Jesus Christ I pray. Amen.