Our Gospel lesson is John 3:1-21, taken today from the New American Standard Bible (NASB).
Now 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 have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, 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? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and 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. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and do not understand these things? Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know and testify of what we have seen, and you do not accept our testimony. If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”
Jesus talks to Nicodemus in the same way He spoke to His followers. He wants the pharisee to understand, but He doesn’t cut Nicodemus any slack either. He reminds him that those in a position of authority are called to greater accountability as well.
Jesus tells us that we are all called to live differently after hearing the Good News. It doesn’t matter who we are or where we fit in our society, we have a renewed obligation to God and to each other. We are part of what God is doing in the world and as He works through us, the world may come to know His love.
We only hear about Nicodemus in this story, later when He defends Jesus in the council (found in John 7), and after the crucifixion in John 19. Jesus certainly had an impact on his life even if we don’t hear more about him. We may not be remembered in history but this is the way our call and our lives are intended. The glory and honor belong to Christ.
Loving Lord, we are blessed to be part of Your plan, sharing Your love with our brothers and sisters. Help us to be humble servants, living as Jesus taught. Amen.