As I began studying John 3 this morning, I was stunned at the thought of how many people have entered the kingdom of heaven through the words of this chapter - multitudes and myriads, as many as the sands of the seashore and as the stars of heaven!! John 3 has clearly been a picture of the power of God unto salvation.
Before us is Christ's encounter with an honest Pharisee. Here Christ preaches the necessity of the new birth and of justification to one who should have known it well but sadly knew it not at all. Here Christ holds forth the love of God for a sinful world and the beauty of grace as the hingepin to the door of heaven. Oh, these words are wonderful words of life. They have given life to thousands if not millions and clearly they are words that gave life to Nicodemus.
This morning I want to simply pause and consider the change wrought in this fearful Pharisee. Notice how he comes: "this man came to Him by night."
Nicodemus was scared! He was afraid of what his friends might think, of what his family might think, of what the "church" might think. So, he came under cloak of darkness that none of them would know! "He came by night because he didn't have the courage to come by day." (Ryle)
What struck me as I read was how different Nicodemus is by the end of John's gospel. He is truly made a new creature - a bold creature. Here he hides and sneaks about. At the end of this book he is as bold as a lion. In John 7 we see him taking on the entire Jewish counsel on behalf of Christ - he's not timid there. In John 19 we see him, along with Joseph of Arimethea, caring for Christ's crucified body. He is tending to the needs of his Lord even when all of the disciples have scattered to save their own skin. Nicodemus is a new creation, the old has gone and the new has come.
Nicodemus is no longer coming by night. He has tossed off the shadows for the sun - or perhaps it is more proper to say for the SON! He cares not who knows or who sees him loving Christ. He is changed and he is transformed. That's what Christ does. That's the fruit of being born again. Is it the fruit of our lives? Which Nicodemus am I- the man of John 3 or the man of John 7 and 19?