John 3 Bible Study

John chapter 3 Bible Study - Nicodemus and Jesus

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JOHN 3:1-2 BIBLE STUDY

John 3:3-12 Bible Study: Born Again
John 3:13 Bible Study: Son of Man
John 3:14-15 Bible Study: Bronze Serpent
John 3:16-21 Bible Study: John 3:16 Meaning
John 3:22-28 Bible Study: Judea
John 3:29-36 Bible Study: Bride and Bridegroom
JOHN 3:1  1 There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.

Who was Nicodemus?
Nicodemus was both “a man of the Pharisees” and “a ruler of the Jews.”

What is meant by Nicodemus being “a man of the Pharisees”?
Nicodemus was a member of the Pharisees sect within Judaism (see Pharisees).

What is meant by Nicodemus being “a ruler of the Jews”?
Nicodemus was also one of the seventy or so members of the Sanhedrin, the political-judicial-religious council that ruled Israel at this time.

Didn’t the Romans rule Israel at this time? And wasn’t there also a king named Herod?
The Sanhedrin ruled under the supervision of Herod, whom the Roman Emperor had appointed for the region that included Israel (see King Herod). Herod in turn ruled under the supervision of the Roman Emperor (see Augustus Caesar), who was represented by the Roman governor and backed by the Roman legion stationed in the region. (see When was Jesus born?)

JOHN 3:2  2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”

What did Nicodemus mean by “we” (John 3:2)?
He could have been referring to the entire Sanhedrin and/or Pharisees sect, in which case Nicodemus would have been dispatched by one or both groups. Given how vehemently both groups opposed Jesus, however, the sentiments Nicodemus expressed above are unlikely to represent either group’s. The “we” is more likely to refer to a smaller group that includes Nicodemus and one or more Pharisee and/or member of the Sanhedrin on whose behalf Nicodemus has come. It is also possible that one or more of them could be accompanying Nicodemus.

Why did Nicodemus come to Jesus “by night” (John 3:2)?
He most likely didn’t want to be seen by too many people.

Why not?
Nicodemus was one of Israel’s top judge, politician and religious leaders. Being seen with, let alone going to see, a street preacher who was doing and saying unorthodox things could lend credibility to those things and tarnish Nicodemus’ reputation.

How would you characterize Nicodemus’ opening words to Jesus?
They sound fairly gracious and respectful. He addresses Jesus as “Rabbi” and calls Him not only a “teacher” but one “from God” (John 3:2).

Are Nicodemus’ opening words correct?
Not quite. Jesus IS God, not a teacher from God.

How might Nicodemus have expected Jesus to reply?
Given the disparity in their social status, Nicodemus may have expected Jesus to show some appreciation for the compliments offered.

Does Jesus live up to his expectations?
Proceed to the next page.

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