Among the people struck by the miracles of Jesus Christ and
believing in Him, was a Pharisee Nicodemus, one of the rulers of the
Jews. He came to Jesus by night unknown to all, so that the other Pharisees and
rulers of the Jews, who disliked Jesus Christ, would not find out about this.
Nicodemus wanted to find out if Jesus Christ
really was the expected Saviour of the world, and whom He would bring into His
Kingdom, that is, what a man must do to enter His Kingdom. He said to the
Saviour, "Rabbi, we know that Thou art a teacher come from God, for no man
can do these miracles that Thou doest, except God be with Him."
The Saviour speaking with Nicodemus said,
"Verily, I say unto Thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom
of God." Nicodemus was very astonished to think a man could
be born again. But the Saviour spoke to him not about the usual physical birth
but about spiritual birth, that is, that a man must be completely changed
in soul, perfectly good and merciful, and that such a change in a man
may be accomplished only by the power of God.
The Saviour said to Nicodemus, "Verily,
verily I say unto thee, except a man be born of water (by Baptism) and of the
Spirit (Who descends upon a man during Baptism), he cannot enter into the Kingdom
of God." The Lord explained to Nicodemus that man born only
of earthly parents remains sinful, meaning, and unworthy of the Kingdom
of Heaven. Having been born of the Holy Spirit, a man becomes
cleansed from sin, holy. How this change in the soul of a man is accomplished ¾ this
is work of God and is not understood by people.
Therefore, the Saviour said to Nicodemus that He
came to earth to suffer and to die for people, not to a royal throne does He
come but to a cross. As Moses raised a serpent in the wilderness (that is,
suspended on a pole a bronze serpent to save from death the Jews who had been
bitten by venomous snakes); thus, the Son of Man must be suspended (that is,
thus, Christ, the Son of Man, must be hung on a wooden cross), so that all who
believe in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. God so loved the
world that He gave His Only-begotten Son (through suffering and death) for the
salvation of people and sent Him into the world not to judge people but to save
Nicodemus from this time became a secret disciple
of Jesus Christ.
the Gospel of John 3:1-21.
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