TOPIC:“It's Time For a Change”
by Rev. Dr. Reg Dunlap
“There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews;
The same came to Jesus by night” (John 3:1, 2)
In those two verses that I have just read there are two words that I want to say something about. One is the name Nicodemus. He is only mentioned 5 times in the entire Bible and they are all found in the Gospel of John. Three times in the chapter before us - verse 1, verse 4 and verse 9.
The other word I call to your attention is the word “night” in verse 2. The word “night” is used approximately 300 times in the Bible. Have you ever considered some of the night scenes of the Bible? Let me mention a few - Jacob wrestled throughout the night with the angel. At night the Lord struck dead all the firstborn in Egypt because of Pharaoh's rebellious will. The disciples fished all night and caught nothing. Jesus continued all night in prayer. Judas betrayed Jesus at night. Paul and Silas sang praises to God at night. Dramatic night scenes from the Bible.
And now as we come to our text we find Nicodemus coming to Jesus at night to have his life transformed and revolutionized. What a night it was. Let's look at it together.
Consider, first of all, the OBLIGATION which demands us to be changed. Three times in our Lord's interview with Nicodemus this necessity of being changed is clearly stated: “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7). According to Christ, it is absolutely imperative and important for us to be transformed if we desire to enter into God's Kingdom.
Now let us understand something of the background which led up to the interview which Nicodemus had with our Lord. At this time the Passover was being celebrated and the city of Jerusalem was crowded with pilgrims from all over Palestine. It was night and from the housetop one could see the gentle breeze blowing the leaves on the trees. Suddenly, under the cover of darkness, not able to wait patiently until daybreak, Nicodemus, this religious and refined man, comes to Jesus for a private interview.
Merrill C. Tenney, New Testament scholar, sets forth three motives why Nicodemus might have come to Jesus by night. 1. Fear of criticism. 2. His desire for an uninterrupted conversation with Jesus. 3. To make a private investigation before committing himself publicly for or against Jesus. G. Campbell Morgan believes Nicodemus came at night because he was determined to have . . .