The man who came to Jesus at night

Moses Tshimukeni Mahlangu

THE night is associated with secrecy, hideousness and darkness. Nicodemus, a Pharisee, a lawyer and a citizen of note came to Jesus at night, John 3: 1-11.

Nicodemus, outwardly seeming self-sufficient had a nagging desire. He wanted to be saved, but did not know how, hence his question directed to Jesus, “what can I do to be saved?”. The man was looking for a formula that would earn him eternal life.

“Rabbi, we know you are a teacher from God, no man can do such miracles without God assisting him”, these words could either be acknowledgement of Jesus divinity to flattery.

The answer seems detached from the quest for works to be done for one to be saved. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God”. Nicodemus was astonished as he thought of the biological impossibility of an old man being born again.

Jesus saw in Nicodemus the potential which even the man himself did not see. Being born of water and the spirit referred to baptism and being led by God’s spirit or spirit filled. The potential seen in Nicodemus could be summarised as a three-level take off.

The first level was when Nicodemus stealthily made his way to Jesus at night, while the second level saw Nicodemus questioning the prudence of sentencing Jesus without allowing him the right to be heard. Put differently, he had been denied natural justice. On the third level he came out openly in support of Jesus and his cause.

Standing in court lifting up his hand in support of the man of Galilee. Lessons from the Nicodemus experience lead one from being a private disciple to being a public supporter of the gospel.

Jesus saw in Nicodemus the potential which even the man himself did not see.
Jesus saw in Nicodemus the potential which even the man himself did not see.

Before being born again, Nicodemus was timid lacking self-confidence when the rebirth of both water and the spirit occurred, he had guts to challenge the unprocedural conduct of Jesus’ case.

Like Jeremiah, once the words of life abound in one, it becomes difficult to keep silent. A Christian experience is a journey, starting from hesitancy to confidence in the Lord, climaxing in the full service for God.

Jesus was right, Nicodemus had a potential. He saw him rising from obscurity to a shining star. Another lesson deduced from Nicodemus was seeing potential in a seemingly unpromising situation and allowing people to walk through their learning curve.

The strategy fits well in business and other institutions, the deliberate move of allowing freshmen to make mistakes in their learning curve experience.

None was born knowing everything. The potential can only be realised through trial and error and eventually getting it right.