In the name of the Father, and the Son, the Holy Spirit & One God, Amen!
NICODEMUS AND THE NEW BIRTH
According to St. John, none of the New Testament chapters is as tricky as chapter three in the Gospel. It has attracted many unbelievers to convert to the Christian faith. Those serious in their search for salvation find themselves reading the words of this chapter and standing with Nicodemus, seeking to hold a secret conversation with the Lord Jesus Christ. When they learn of the new possibilities granted to them, they worship the Lord and pray to be united with Him as they desire to enjoy His Holy Spirit and get renewed and born a second time through baptism.
It now becomes necessary to reveal the new birth within the same framework of teachings that assure a new Messianic life and the revelation of new wine and a new temple.
So this is presented in the special meeting between a Pharisee, who has a beautiful personality, and the Lord Jesus Christ, the living spiritual Source that flows into every soul seriously concerned about salvation. As a Pharisee, Nicodemus was knowledgeable in the Torah and Jewish traditions. Being a moral man, he believed that it is in man's power to obey the ethical rules willingly. Nicodemus thought this depended upon personal struggle and human will and adhering strictly and literally to the Law based on his study and observation. He found that the Lord Jesus Christ was a Jewish Teacher deeply concerned with the Law. This is probably why the Evangelist mentions Nicodemus as one of those most attracted to the Lord. In this context, St. John says: 'Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did…' (Jn. 2:23), and Nicodemus believed that He came from God (Jn.3:2). He might have hoped that the Lord was a social reformer who based His teachings on the literal interpretation of the Law and consequently improved the Jewish people's condition.
The mentality and experience of Nicodemus did not qualify or help him to accept the new life in the Lord Jesus Christ. He could not comprehend the grace of new birth and the benefits of a new spiritual Law. He needed the Lord to help him lift his thoughts, heart, and all his senses and potential towards heaven. Only by doing so could Nicodemus comprehend his need for a new birth through the One who "came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven…." He alone ascends into heaven and carries all those who believe in Him to enjoy adoption through Him and be the children of God.
The meeting between Nicodemus and the Lord Jesus Christ draws our hearts to the Lord Jesus Christ as we realize His concern over every human soul and His gentleness as He converses frankly with each one.
We have seen the Word coming and dwelling among us to make us children of God (Ch. 1), and now He proclaims the manner of the new birth in His conversation with Nicodemus, a Jewish leader. Nicodemus yearned to see the Kingdom, so the Lord stressed that he needed to be baptized by the water and the Spirit. This is necessary as it enables the believer to live permanently as a child of God and live according to His Spirit. In the passage of this chapter, the Lord lifts us from earthly concerns and makes us preoccupied with heavenly matters. He says that we can do so through our union with the heavenly One who descended to raise us with Him to the heavens where He reigns [John 3:13].
The Lord links baptism with the Cross as the Father proclaims His love for all humanity by sending His Son so that the whole world may enjoy eternal life [John 3:16].
By indicating the new birth, the Lord leads us away from the fear of condemnation and into the enjoyment of the Divine Light [John 3:21].
When St. John the Baptist saw what happened when the Lord was baptized and what this implied concerning the blessing of adoption to those who believe in Him, his joy was complete. He heard the voice of the Bridegroom engaging His Bride so that She may live in the glorious heavens with Him [John 3:29].
Glory be to God, Amen!
A PATRISTIC COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST. JOHN PART ONE: Pages 155-156