Nicodemus visits Jesus at night-- John 3:1-21
Nicodemus visits Jesus at night
This morning we are going to begin a 4-5 week survey of the Gospel of John
-Written by John (also known as the beloved disciple)
-The only disciple to die by natural causes, the rest were martyred
-Structurally the Gospel features things in sevens (a number symbolizing completeness and
perfection). For instance: Jesus makes 7 "I AM" statements (all being claims of his deity). John draws
our attention to 7 of Jesus' miraculous signs. There are 7 sermons in the Gospel as well.
-Eternal life is a big theme in the Gospel of John, as is Jesus' relationship to God the Father. In over
115 verses in the Gospel of John, Jesus talks of God the Father
-John had one purpose in writing the Gospel of John; that those who read it may to the conclusion
that the Jesus is God, the only Savior, and that they may turn to him in faith and repentance for
The key verses of John are found in John 20:30-31
"Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this
book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by
believing you may have life in his name."
In reading John 1-5 this week I thought, we've never taken a close look at John 3, so what better time
than this coming Sunday.
John 3 is wrapped around a night time conversation that Jesus has with a Pharisee named
Note: Nicodemus featured a number of times in the Gospel of John. He stands up for Jesus in the
council in John 7:50-51, after Jesus' death he helped Joseph of Arimathea take Jesus' body down from
the cross and lay it in a tomb, also donating 75 pounds of myrrh.
At night under the cover of darkness Nicodemus sneaks over to where Jesus was staying to visit him
and presumably ask Jesus some questions (which we don't know are since he never got a chance to
Nicodemus' going to Jesus under the cover of darkness is quite telling, for, Nicodemus was afraid of
what his peers might think. Strangely enough, people are like this today sometimes -- afraid of what
others might think as it regards them and Jesus.
To Nicodemus Jesus said some very well known things --Jesus also said some things which we hardly
ever spend time on. So first, lets review some of the familiar things that Jesus said to Nicodemus,
and then lets have a look together at the rest of what Jesus said to Nicodemus that night
I. THE FAMILIAR SAYINGS OF JESUS IN JOHN 3:1-21
1. "You must be born again" John 3:7
Read John 3:3 and 3:7
Note: What Jesus said to Nicodemus confused him and confuses a lot of people-- for the big question
on his mind was "How can a person be born again?"
Jesus explains: It's a work of the Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit convicts of sin, of righteousness, of the
judgment to come. He enables faith- which we are called to exercise in Christ (see v.15*) He
regenerates (He brings person from being spiritually dead to being spiritually alive)
Another thing: Nicodemus' confusion about the need to be born again illustrates his wrong thinking
about how to get to Heaven. He's not alone. He thought good works, obeying the 10 commandments,
etc would get him into heaven.
Application: Have you been born again? Have you put your faith in Christ as Savior and Lord? Have
you confessed your sinfulness to God and asked for the forgiveness of your sins?
2. "Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that
everyone who believes in him may have eternal life." comes in third in terms of familiarity to the
average Christian. John 3:14-15
Herein Jesus does a couple of things.
a. He talks about how he is going to die. "lifted up on a cross"
b. He talks about eternal life. He promises eternal life to all who put their faith in Him. Over and over
again in the Gospel of John, Jesus calls people and you and I to put our faith in Christ.
Eternal life: Consists of a relationship with Jesus (John 17:3). He is the LIFE. He our Maker. He takes
spiritually dead people and gives them life (for apart from Christ the Bible says that we are dead in
our sins and under the judgment of God)
c. He uses a neat Old Testament account to illustrate the saving mission that he came on and how
salvation is by faith.
In Numbers 21:4-9 it says; "They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea, to go
around Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way; they spoke against God and against Moses,
and said, "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread! There
is no water! And we detest this miserable food!" Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among them;
they bit the people and many Israelites died. The people came to Moses and said, "We sinned when
we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us." So
Moses prayed for the people. The Lord said to Moses, "Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone
who is bitten can look at it and live." So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then
when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.
Jesus' point: He the fulfillment of this OT sign. Put your faith in Him and you will be: forgiven of your
sins, saved the judgment to come, granted eternal life.
3. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him
shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16
Application: We are to never doubt the amazing and undeserved love of God for us. While we were
yet sinners, Christ died for us as a once for all sacrifice that we might come to have the forgiveness of
sins and eternal life.
Another application: We are to never cease to be thankful for God's amazing love and grace to us
II. THE NOT SO FAMILIAR SAYINGS OF JESUS IN JOHN 3:1-21
1. "Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned
already, because they have not believed in the name of God's one and only Son." John 3:18
Fact: Jesus came on a rescue mission to save people from their sins
Fact: Apart from Christ we are in big trouble-- standing under the judgment of God
Fact: To reject the person and work of Christ is to reject salvation, the forgiveness of God, and
eternal life, and to means Judgment.
What's needed: Faith in Jesus is the only way to be saved from the judgment to come
2. "This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people love darkness instead of light
because their deeds are evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the
light for fear that their deeds will be exposed." John 3:19-20
A few things
a. Jesus is the Light. He the light of the world. He the way, the truth, the Life. As the light He is
perfect in holiness and wondrous in glory. There is nothing false in Him.
b. The natural inclination of the heart of a person (despite how good people tend to think they are) is
to do what is wrong and sinful in the sight of God. i.e Lying, stealing, revemge. selfishness, abortion,
murder, sexual sin, blaspheming the name of God, disobeying our parents, not being happy with what
we have, etc
c. People tend to not like having their sins exposed. People don't like the term sinner being applied to
3. "Whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he
has done has been done through God." John 3:21
While people apart from Christ don't like having their sins exposed, a mark of a person who is seeking
after the truth of God and who is committed to following Christ is this: LORD, show me the sin in my
As Christians we are to invite the Holy Spirit and be open to the Word of God to expose the sins that
beset us and that we struggle with.
Why? Because we have been called to holiness, to purity, to righteousness and our desire is that we
would every day become more and more like Christ.
So, while a lot of our sins are embarrassing to us and quite shameful, we are not to be like the people
of this world who say "I'm going to do what I want and you can't tell me that what I'm doing wrong."
We need to be humble and say The word of God is the final authority for my beliefs, my faith, and
how I live. I am not going to hide my sin and call evil good and good evil. When my sins are
exposed-- whether its me lying, stealing, having sex outside of marriage, swearing, smoking,
overeating, not forgiving, being selfish, not being content, etc, I am going to confess these as sin and
resolve by the power of Christ to change.
A REVIEW OF SOME OF THE APPLICATIONS OF JOHN 3:1-21
a. Have you been born again?
b. Every day we should God for his love and grace in sending Jesus to die for us that we might be
forgiven, saved from the judgment to come, and made the friends of God
c. Since a person stands under the judgment of God apart from Christ, it's imperative to be reconciled
to God-- such is by faith in Christ.
d. As Christians we ought to welcome our sins being exposed- because our goal is to be holy and
more and more like Christ