Does Jesus Evangelize Nicodemus in John 3?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by John of Japan, Jan 19, 2016.

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Did Jesus evangelize Nicodemus?

  1. John 3 is about evangelism, and Nicodemus needed salvation.

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  2. John 3 is not about evangelism, since Nicodemus did not need salvation.

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  3. I don't know.

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  4. Other

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  1. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    I was just blown away by a post in the thread on the evangelism of Jesus. Now this thread is not to pick on Iconoclast, but just to try to figure out what he said:
    and
    In my 60 years of Christian life I've never heard this before. I'm not trying to pick on Iconoclast here, but I'm really curious about this view. What do you think?
     
  2. agedman

    agedman
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    I think it very interesting that John includes two prominent figures of that day in this section of his account. The first was the religious ruler inquiring of the teacher, and the last was John the Baptist's last statement of the teacher.

    One was at the end of his life learning that he had to start over, and the other at the end of his life about to loose his head.

    One who was supposed to be a teacher who needed to learn basic truth, and the other a who had to instruct his followers to follow truth.

    One who would secret himself so that no one may know, and those who complained they were loosing the attention of others.

    and the list could go on.

    But between the two is that wonderful section in which the love of God is expressed. That section is as the hub between two opposite sides of a wheel. One starting in the Way, the other about to finish the journey. Neither side is useful without the hub.

    Sorry this is a bit off topic, but it is what I think. :)
     
  3. JonC

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    It sounds similar to Daniel Parkers view (not that it is).

    I believe Nicodemus went to Jesus looking for the answer that each sect asked, and that was how one can see the Kingdom...how a man can have a right standing under the covenant Law. Jesus replied, essentially, that he could not but he be born again (or from above). Jesus was not correcting a "false teacher," but was explaining salvation. The diologue indicates Nicodemus was under the old covenant intended to point to Christ (he was the teacher of Israel but did not at first understand). He needed the gospel message (which was to the Jews first).

    Anyway, that's my two cents.
     
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  4. InTheLight

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    I've never heard anyone, ever, say that Jesus was not attempting to point Nicodemus to salvation.

    Looks like another case of cognitive dissonance between the Calvinist's stated need for missions vs. their belief that the elect are chosen from before the foundation of the world. Just another inconsistency.

    Or else another case of Iconoclast having no rebuttal.

    Take your pick. (Both picks are valid, BTW.)
     
    #4 InTheLight, Jan 19, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2016
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  5. John of Japan

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    I don't see anything about covenant law in the passage. Neither Jesus nor Nicodemus mentioned the law. The passage starts out in v. 2 with Nicodemus noting that Jesus did miracles, and saying that this means Jesus came from God. I think Nicodemus is wondering whether or not Jesus is the Messiah.
     
  6. JonC

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    There isn't anything in the passage directing us to the covenant Law. You asked what I thought, not what I read .

    I agree that Nicodemus was wondering if Jesus was the Christ. As his story continues I think this is apparent. But I also think the questions that divided the Jewish sects influenced the answer Jesus gave (we have no record of Nicodemus asking what was answered).
    Nicodemus was, I believe, confronted with the fact that one would not see the Kingdom through certain things obedience but by a new birth. I believe Nicodemus' response was genuine (essentially, how can these things be, or happen) and Jesus explains in a meaningful way.

    I, of course, could be mistaking here as there's a first time for everything. (kidding)
     
    #6 JonC, Jan 19, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2016
  7. agedman

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    As a former teacher, I want to express a bit of a different thought, too.

    Perhaps a teacher doesn't have all the tools, or the completed curriculum, or specific understanding, or been exposed to a technique, or any number of other things that can prevent total education being passed on to the students. There is also the matter of tradition and bias in any system of education - even in the time of Nicodemus. Such traditions and bias can hinder the full truth from the learning process.

    This (imo) is the case with Nicodemus. He didn't have the whole understanding of that which he taught. There was more to the "story" (so to speak) than what Nicodemus was giving, because he didn't either have that knowledge, had ignored his teacher when the knowledge was presented (as many do), had been distracted from the knowledge, or merely not been exposed to learn that knowledge - which is usually the case.

    Our Lord was very kind and respectful to this old man. He brought what was necessary for Nicodemus to mull over and consider as a good teacher will when presented with something new or a nuance previously unknown by them in their field.

    Nicodemus could only teach what he was taught, and he wasn't given the whole story.

    So, on one hand, the old teacher needed to attend to more learning.

    However, that same learning also would bring new life.

    So to answer the OP, there was BOTH in the mix. It wasn't one without the other. New learning came with new life.

    Perhaps it took some time for Nicodemus to work through the change intellectually (as a good scholar will) and no doubt, as a good scholar, he would have spent a great amount of time reviewing the study materials for validation of the new learning he was exposed to by the Lord. But, ultimately, the new learning came with new life.

    Does this work for every person? NO.

    I have witnessed (more often than I care to remember) those so entrenched in doing what they have always done, or so put off by some newbie with "no real experience," that no change is made and if there was, it was either too insignificant in attempt, or not consistently presented, so that the results were never what was expected.

    Nicodemus was a startling example of an old teacher who was still open to being taught. As a result of such openness, the results became, in time, self evident.
     
  8. Revmitchell

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    Jesus was addressing a flaw in the theology of Jews when he spoke to Nicodemus. That flaw was that the Jews were saved simply because they were Jews or children of Abraham. This is seen in passages such as (John 8:33; 39) John the Baptist addressed this (Matthew 3:9) and of course Jesus addressed it in John 3 and John 8:39.

    Jesus was making the case to Nicodemus that salvation is not based on simply a physical birth (i.e. children of Abraham) but they must also be born of the Spirit or born from above ( John 3:6).

    How can one not understand that Jesus was evangelising Nicodemus when he begins the dialogue with "....unless is one is born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God."?
     
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  9. Martin Marprelate

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    Nicodemus certainly needed to be evangelized. Despite all his knowledge and book-learning, he was blind to evangelical truth.

    More later as I have time.
     
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  10. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Point taken.

    We are agreed, then.

    Really? Could it be? Thumbsdown
     
  11. DHK

    DHK
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    When he said that to me I was very confused. Which covenant I asked him.
    If he was referring to the OT signified by circumcision and the keeping of the Sabbath and the Law, then so were the unsaved Israelites such as Jezebel and Ahab under such a covenant. They were born into the nation of Israel.
    If he was referring to the NT covenant, then he was wrong. That was the purpose of this whole discussion that Jesus had with Nicodemus--that he wasn't born again, that he hadn't entered into a covenant relationship with Christ.
    Simply because he was a devout man in Israel, a teacher in Israel "a good man", didn't make him a part of any NT covenant. It was perplexing indeed for such a statement to be made. Thus I gave the evidence for the actual salvation of Nicodemus and posed the question: When was Nicodemus truly saved?
     
  12. John of Japan

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    Good points. Thanks for posting.
     
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  13. SovereignGrace

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    All were under the OT covenant until Christ was resurrected. But I see a case made from both sides of this debate. I see Christ evangelizing to Nicodemus, but also scolding him...'you are a teacher of the Law, and do not know this?!?!?'
     
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  14. John of Japan

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    I have to think the scolding was also part of Christ's evangelism. It must have been humiliating for Nicodemus to hear, but on the other hand it is just how the true Messiah would have talked--with authority, and not as the scribes. And Nicodemus was trying to figure out if Jesus was the Christ.
     
  15. SovereignGrace

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    Well, not having truly given the evangelizing ideology a thought...I always thought of Nicodemus as saved...it causes me to take a second look into this. I believe Nicodemus was saved, just not having all the info.
     
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  16. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Thinking about the Bible is always good. Keep it up.
     
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  17. Revmitchell

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    Why?
     
  18. SovereignGrace

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    I read this interesting article, Bro. John...


    http://www.reformation21.org/articles/nicodemus-when-knowing-the-bible-isnt-enough.php#.dpuf
     
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  19. SovereignGrace

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    Bro. John, I love your avatar and the face you're making. :D If I was a betting man, I'd bet dollars to donuts that's your son with you.
     
  20. DHK

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    The question is when did he receive that mercy?
    Was it in John 3 when Jesus spoke to him?

    In John 7 the Sanhedrin had already set in motion plans to kill Jesus:
    Joh 7:25 Then said some of them of Jerusalem, Is not this he, whom they seek to kill?

    They gathered together:
    In the following conversation the only thing that Nicodemus says in defense of Jesus is this oblique comment:
    John 7:50 Nicodemus saith unto them, (he that came to Jesus by night, being one of them,)
    51 Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth?
    52 They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.
    --IOW, he is innocent until proven guilty. If he were truly saved he would have stood up for Christ as Paul did. He would not fear to die. There were others that stood up for Christ, but not Nicodemus.

    Look at the testimony of the man born blind for example:
    Joh 9:25 He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.
    Joh 9:26 Then said they to him again, What did he to thee? how opened he thine eyes?
    Joh 9:27 He answered them, I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again? will ye also be his disciples?
    --He was not afraid to rebuke these same Pharisees. But Nicodemus was.

    In another passage where Nicodemus was no doubt present:
    John 12:42 Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue:
    43 For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
    --The Sanhedrin had gathered together. Some believed. But did Nicodemus? We don't know. They feared lest they be put out of the synagogue.

    Not until John 19 do we have actual evidence that Nicodemus becomes a follower of Christ and associates himself with other believers.
    John 19:39 And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.
    40 Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.
    --Up until this time it seems that Nicodemus was either unsaved or a "secret believer," which ever you may believe is more applicable to your theology. Some here don't believe "secret believers" exist. It doesn't fit with LS theology. Being a part of the Sanhedrin and a Christian at the same time is virtually impossible. How can one be a follower of Christ and at the same time plot to kill him?
     

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