John 3:1-21

Author: Denell Dennis


Jesus Teaches Nicodemus

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.”

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 gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You 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.”

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. 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”

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. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.


Key Verse

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.


Nick at Night ~ Nugget to Nibble

9 “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.



Today, I’m chillaxin’ on the porch of our son-in-law’s family cabin in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Just saw a white-tailed deer gallop into the yard and “jump for joy” over the fence. My “twitter feed” (thankfully, NOT the social media kind) is a live stream of tweets, chirps, and birdsong. A broad-tailed hummingbird just whizzed by; his wing-trill loud & proud! Zoom, zoom…my camera lens captures him sipping nectar from a purple thistle, hovering and humming. I find myself humming, too.


This is my Father’s world

And to my listening ears

All nature sings

And… (continue to hum along if you know it)


It’s amazing what listening ears can hear.


In John 3:1-21, John invites us to eavesdrop. “Nick at Night” is a catchy nickname for this passage. Why did Nicodemus visit Jesus at night? Was Nick being stealthy because he didn’t want his fellow Pharisees to know about the visit? Or did he sincerely just want to “have a little talk with Jesus” privately?

Nicodemus speaks first to Jesus, respectfully addressing Him as “Rabbi” and acknowledging His God-ordained teaching credentials. The miraculous signs are proof! I wonder if Nick had other questions on his itinerary. But once Jesus responds with His “born again” teaching, Nick’s mind is blown. The last thing we hear from him is in verse 9. “How can this be?” My heart goes out to Nicodemus. “Israel’s teacher” is now being schooled! Everything he thought he “knew” was now confusing. He sat there with listening ears but what he heard did not compute. Nicodemus inspires me to privately meet with Jesus. No planned talking points just simply show up with listening ears. There’s so much truth I do not understand. Teach me, Lord.


As I type, the Colorado breeze is blowing wherever it pleases. I hear its sound but can’t tell where it came from.  “So it is with everyone born of the Spirit,” whispers Jesus. And I find myself grateful. 


Let it BE.


 Points to Ponder

1.      Fast forward a couple of years.  Zoom, zoom…my camera lens captures Nicodemus reminding his fellow Pharisees that Jesus should be granted a hearing before he’s condemned. (John 7:50-51) What does this say to you about Nicodemus?

2.      Fast forward to the day of Jesus’ crucifixion. Zoom, zoom…my camera lens captures Nicodemus with Joseph of Arimathea tenderly wrapping the body of Jesus with spices and strips of linen. (John 19:38-40) Notice that Nick brought a ginormous amount of myrrh and aloes. (Enough for a royal burial!) Notice that Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. Imagine the conversation between Nicodemus and Joseph as they wrapped the One they loved. 

3.      John 3:16 is obviously the most famous verse in this passage. Even though we didn’t DIG into it today, how does that verse speak to you in light of the “Nick at Night” context?  What does it mean to you personally in your walk with the LORD?






Denell Dennis

Kevin and I have 3 married children and 3 grandchildren. As “DeeDee and Gramps” we adore doting on our grands and giggling with our family. I am the author of the Bible Study series: Ladies Better Understanding God and enjoy speaking at women’s retreats and conferences. Currently…DeeDee is enjoying a sweet sabbatical in order to lean in, listen, and learn from the LORD. We have worshipped at Saturn Road since 1988.