Yet You Don’t Understand?
John 3:9-10 (ESV) – Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things?”
The smartest people in the world often miss the simple truths of the gospel. Many intellectuals believe the gospel and follow Christ. Others can study the precepts and principles for years and not grasp the content. Even religious leaders with massive degrees in theology miss the truth of God found in Christ. Jewish scholars miss the reality of the Messiah right in front of their faces. I saw this first-hand in Israel on a trip I took.
Our passage today shows such a scenario. Nicodemus is a religious leader in first-century Israel. He is smart. He even knows to some extent that Jesus is not some normal rebel rouser. There is something different going on with Him. Nicodemus approaches Jesus at night to inquire about Him. Jesus explains about the way of the kingdom and regeneration. Jesus tells him that he must be born again to enter the kingdom of God. Nicodemus answers back, “How can these things be?” Jesus responds back to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things?”
Nicodemus can’t wrap his mind around what Jesus is saying. These things are outlined in the Scriptures, but Nicodemus is not recognizing Jesus’ words. Jesus’ response to him is surprising. How can he, a teacher of Israel, not understand these things? The question is rhetorical. Jesus knows why he can’t discern them. It is because they are spiritually discerned. There is a knowledge that is spiritually gained. Nicodemus is blind. He’s incapable, apart from grace, of seeing and understanding these truths.
What about you? Have you seen the truth? If so, it is not because you are smarter than Nicodemus. It is because God has shown kindness to you. His grace has given you understanding. This is a gift.
We don’t boast in ourselves,
but praise the One who gave us the
gift of seeing the truth in the Bible.
Let today be a day of marveling at God’s
kindness in revealing the truth to you.
Reflection & Journal:
- Why is Nicodemus incapable of understanding Jesus’ teaching?
- What does this say about our spiritual condition?
- How should this provoke our own hearts to worship today?
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