The Life of Jesus Christ - Chapter 3 - People who met Jesus during his early work for God - Part 2
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An online Bible Study course by Barrie Wetherill about the life of Jesus. This book is in EasyEnglish Level B. Use the links below for other online Bible Study books and commentaries that will help you. Or go to the Word List, which explains words with a *star.
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When Jesus was at Jerusalem, an important man visited him at
night. The man was Nicodemus. He was a member of the Jewish *Council. He was
also a Pharisee. The Pharisees spent much time studying the law. They tried hard
to obey it. Sometimes they obeyed their own ideas of the law. They believed that
*ceremonies and *sacrifices were very important for their religion. They prayed
often. Often they did not eat because of their religion. They gave God a tenth
part of their money and of all their other possessions. They thought that the
rules about behaviour were the most important rules. They paid great attention
to the practice of their religion. They often did not understand the real
meaning of God’s rules. Jesus had many discussions with them. These
discussions show us the errors that these men were making. In the end, Jesus
declared that they were quite wrong. See Matthew 23.
Nicodemus understood what everyone should have understood. He
saw what Jesus was doing. So, Nicodemus realised that Jesus was from God. But
this caused a problem for Nicodemus. He thought that the *Messiah would be a
king. This king would force the Romans and other enemies to leave *Israel. Jesus
was not this kind of a man. Also, the way that Jesus spoke about God’s rules
was different. He did not think about God’s rules in the way that Nicodemus
thought about them.
Nicodemus expected that a king [that is, the *Messiah] would
defeat the Romans. The Romans would leave, and the Jewish leaders would rule.
This would be the beginning of the *kingdom of God. But Nicodemus could see that
this was not Jesus' message. Nicodemus was an honest man. He came to ask Jesus
But why did Nicodemus visit Jesus at night? He was frightened.
The crowds were watching the Jewish leaders. They wanted to know what the
leaders believed about Jesus (John 7:26, 48). The rest of the *Council would not
be happy about this visit. They would think that Nicodemus was foolish. They
would ask questions: 'Does Nicodemus think that Jesus is the *Messiah?' They
would laugh at him! They might not even allow him to be a member of the
*Council. He would lose everything. He would not continue to be an important
man. People would not respect him. His whole life would change. The story of
Nicodemus shows us something that is important. It can be very hard to begin to
ask about Jesus. It shows us something else. It can be even harder to obey the
*Lord Jesus. Some people might even die because they obey Jesus.
First of all, Nicodemus said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, we know that
you have come from God. Nobody could do these *miracles and signs if God were
not with him’.
Jesus spoke more clearly to this honest man than he did to some
other people. He answered Nicodemus’s question at once.
Jesus said, ‘Nobody can see the *kingdom of God unless he has
a new life’. To begin a new life, we need a new birth. Of course, Jesus did
not mean a physical rebirth. It will be a *spiritual birth. We all have a big
problem. We have *sin in our lives. We are selfish. We want to please ourselves.
We want all kinds of good things for ourselves. God has to change us. Then we
can be the people that he wants us to be. He has to change the way that we
think. He has to change the way that we live. It will be like a new life. Or,
like a new birth. The *prophets knew this. For example Jeremiah wrote:
Nicodemus was a very good teacher (see John 3:10). He should
have known this passage from Jeremiah. He should have understood when Jesus told
There was something else that God would do, to give men new
life. He had to forgive us for our *sin. We have all had wrong attitudes. We
behave badly and this does not please God. When he forgives us, we can know God.
We can live with God. God forgives us because Jesus died for us on the *cross.
Jesus spoke about this to Nicodemus. This is what he said:
Nicodemus would not have understood this at the time. Later on,
he does seem to have become a *disciple. After Jesus died on the *cross,
Nicodemus helped to bury Jesus' body. Joseph from Arimathea, who was also a
member of the Jewish *council, helped Nicodemus (John 19v39).