Bible Study series No.5 from The Gospel of John: "A man named Nicodemus"
Worship Program: October 10, 2021


Prayer:           Missionary Michio


Special Praise:Ocarina, "I have found a friend in Jesus"

                                                        Missionary Michio

聖書朗読: ヨハネによる福音書3:                                                              Missionary Michio

Message:「A man named Nicodemus」                                                               Pastor Megumi

Prayer of Thanksgiving:                                                                          Missionary Michio

Psalm 23
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,
he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.


Message: The Gospel of John (5)      Title: A man named Nicodemus

Bible: Gospel of John 3:1-17(NIV)
1.Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.[a]”4 “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”5 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit[b] gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You[c] must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”[d]9 “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11 Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man.[e] 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,[f] 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”[g]16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Last time, I talked about the events that took place in the temple during the Passover in Israel.

Today, I will focus on the story of a Jewish man who visited Jesus.

The man's name is Nicodemus.


Nicodemus was an elite member of the Jewish upper class in terms of society. He was a rabbi (teacher) of the Pharisees and a member of the Jewish ruling council. The Supreme Jewish Court, called the Sanhedrin, was the highest voting body of the Jewish people, consisting of 70 members. As a member of the Sanhedrin, Nicodemus was responsible for conducting religious trials.


Among the Pharisees they argued, "We must get rid of Jesus at all costs!”

Nicodemus on the other hand did not agree with the others and told them "According to our law, we should not pass judgment on someone unless we first hear from him and find out what he has done. (John 7:47-52)


Nicodemus honored Jesus, the young man from Nazareth, an unknown carpenter, by calling him "Rabbi". 

Perhaps Nicodemus thought that there was truth in Jesus' teachings and he was willing to take the risk to see what it was.

He already knew about the rumors of the "signs" Christ had performed, and he had heard firsthand the proclamation of his divine sonship in the palace. He may have thought to himself that Christ is no ordinary man and is the Savior who we had been expecting for a long time.


Bible describes a dialogue between Jesus and Nicodemus.

He greets Jesus by saying, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher from God, for no one can do the signs that you do unless God is with him." (3:2)


In addition to being polite and respectful, he acknowledges Jesus as the one who came from God. Isn't that the greatest compliment of all?

Moreover, the fact that he uses the plural form "we " instead of the personal title "I " suggests that perhaps there were others who thought as highly of Jesus as Nicodemus did, and he was there to represent them.


However, Jesus does not respond to that, but says to Nicodemus in verse 3, "If a man is not born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”


He must have been very upset, because Jesus rebuked him for his answer, " “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things?” (3:10)


Nicodemus must have been confident that he could determine with his knowledge whether Jesus was the Son of God or not.

Perhaps, in his heart, he was proud of the fact that he and his friends, who were keeping the Law of Moses, must have fulfilled the requirements to enter heaven.


If living a good life, doing good deeds, obeying the law, and being moral were the conditions for salvation, Nicodemus might have been the first one to enter the kingdom of God.


However, according to Jesus, that was not a condition for entering the Kingdom of God.

Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.” (3:5)

What I say now is not the purpose of today's message, but I would like to remind you because it is important to me.

Many Christians equate the water mentioned here with "baptism," but should we interpret it that way?

As I said before, I believe that water baptism is not a condition for salvation, so I have a different interpretation.

There is no doubt that "water" is very important meaning because it symbolizes "purification" and "repentance", but ultimately, doesn't Jesus think that this water will be exhausted someday?


Even if we do not understand everything, the first step is to know and accept Jesus Christ.

It is not easy as it means surrendering our lives to God.

We need an intimate experience with God's words.


Even if we understand God’s words, we cannot change our lives without experiencing it.

Wisdom, human knowledge, and philosophy will not make us be born again.

In our daily lives, if we think about the meaning of each small event and give thanks for as much as we can, we can feel the warmth and richness of God.

Mother Teresa looked at Christ in people who were dying.

She found an eternal treasure even in hardship and poverty.


On this night, Nicodemus was unable to achieve his goal and probably left the place discouraged. However, the encounter did not end in vain.


It was just his beginning. I will end by telling you how Nicodemus lived his life after that.

In the Gospel of John 19:38-42, we read that a man named Joseph of Arimathea took down the body of Jesus who had died on the cross, Nicodemus brought myrrh and perfume, and these two men wrapped Jesus’s body in flaxen cloth and buried Him in a tomb.


Nicodemus chose to live his life believing in Jesus Christ as “his Savior" instead of just “a rabbi".


Bible: Gospel of John 4:16-17 (NIV)
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.