Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered him . . . 

John 3:9 (ESV)

As human beings, we hear with our ears, see with our eyes, and we understand as much as our intellect will allow us to comprehend. Believing in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, who came from heaven to offer the sacrifice to cover all our sin and shame and restore our relationship with our heavenly Father, comes only through faith. This faith dares us to reach beyond what “makes sense” to love a God we cannot see and listen to a voice that can only be heard by the heart. 

Though he was mentioned only three times in the New Testament, Nicodemus was one of the most intriguing individuals in Scripture. As a Pharisee, he would have been one of the most theologically astute Jews of his day. Yet, for all his doubts about who Jesus may have been, Nicodemus could not resolve in his mind how a teacher from Nazareth could say and do the things He did unless there was something extraordinary about Him. This was his motivation as he came to Jesus under cover of darkness in John 3. However, Jesus seemingly ignored his inquiry by making the provocative statement that neither Nicodemus, nor anyone else, could see the Kingdom of God unless they are born again (John 3:3, David’s Paraphrase).

Nicodemus would have been an expert on the “letter” of the law, but like all Pharisees, he would have been a stranger to the “spirit” of what the law was to accomplish. So, when he confused Jesus’ statement with literally returning to his mother’s womb, he was merely processing the “spiritual” truth with typical “intellectual” understanding. His last recorded words spoken to Jesus were, “How can these things be?” Unlike his Pharisee colleagues, there was something different in the way he questioned Jesus. And, Jesus, knowing his heart, moments later revealed not only the truth of who He was, but how someone could in fact be born again. 

There are moments when life demands answers that extend beyond what we know. We are always well-served to remember Jesus’ timeless answer to Nicodemus, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whosever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”