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John8 – the man who came by night

In fact there was a man of the Pharisees, his name Nicodemus, a leader of the Judeans. This one came towards him at night and said to him, “Rabbi, we have discerned that a teacher has come from God, because no one is able to do these signs that you are doing if God may not be with him.” 
 
The “him” in the above - from John’s eye-witness first century biography of Jesus - is, in fact, Jesus, c. AD 30. It was “night” for Nicodemus too.

Jesus answered and said to him, “Amen, amen I state to you, if anyone may not be born from above, he is not able to see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus states towards him, “How is a man able to be born being old? He is not able to come in into his mother’s interior for a second time and be born?” Jesus answered, “Amen, amen I state to you, if anyone may not be born out of water and spirit, he is not able to come in into the kingdom of God. That having been born from the flesh is flesh, and that having been born from the spirit is spirit.” 

 
The “night” is so deep and pervasive that only new birth could bring sight.

‘To see one’s darkness proves the presence of great light.’ (Raoul Pius)
“You may not be astonished that I said to you, ‘It is necessary for you to be born from above.’ The spirit spirits where it desires and you hear the voice of it, but you have not discerned from where it comes and to where it goes away. In this way is everyone having been born from the spirit.” Nicodemus answered and said to him, “How are these things able to come to be?” 

Nicodemus “may not be astonished” because the spirit which accompanies the new birth may already be at work in him. And Nicodemus wants it.

Jesus answered and said to him, “You are the teacher of Israel, and you do not know these things. Amen, amen I state to you that what we have known we are speaking and what we have discerned we are testifying, and you are not laying hold of our testimony. If I say to you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I may say to you sky-things? And no one has ascended into the sky except the one who stepped down from the sky—the Son of Man.” 

Strange that a religious leader knows nothing about the new birth….. And yet, the explanation for Nicodemus must start with the heavenly origin of Jesus.

“And just as Moses lifted-up the serpent in the wilderness, in this way it is necessary for the Son of Man to be lifted-up, in order that everyone believing in him may have eternal life.” 

That explanation continues with the essential fact that Son of Man must die so that those who believe in him may receive new birth and “have eternal life.” The “serpent in the wilderness” was “elevated” by Moses at God’s command so that any one of the people bitten by a plague of serpents might look upon it and thereby live and not die.

“Because in this way God loved-in-action the world that as a result he gave the Son, the unique, in order that everyone believing into him may not self-destroy, but may have eternal life.” 

The heavenly origin of this new birth out of darkness into “eternal life” for human beings arises from the “love-in-action” of God.

“Because God did not send out his Son into the world in order that he may judge the world, but in order that the world may be saved through him.” 

That “love-in-action” of God includes the postponement of judgment. 

“The one believing into him is not judged. In fact the one not believing has already been judged, in that he has not believed into the name of the unique Son of God.” 

 
Actually, “believing into" Jesus, by those in the “night”, totally avoids the judgment of God upon them.
 
‘If you are never born again you will wish you had never been born at all.’ (J C Ryle, preacher and writer, 1816-1900)
“In fact this is the judgment: that the light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light - it was because of their evil works. Because everyone practicing wicked things hates the light and does not come towards the light, in order that he not be reproved by his works. In fact the one doing the true thing comes towards the light, in order that it may be revealed, that it is in God that his works have been worked.” 

This is the reason for God’s present “judgment” – now and in future.

 
Sinner Syvret

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