Questions Beneath the Surface

Questions can be threatening.  The questioner is either revealing ignorance for which he could be judged.  Or, the responder is put on the defensive, seeking to show what he knows or that she has a justifiable position.

Nicodemus risked coming to Jesus (by night) for a conversation.  He opened the conversation with a declaration - God must be with you or you couldn't do what you're doing - but being a Pharisee you realize there are questions beneath the surface (Is this true?  How could this be?).

When Jesus offers a response that is incomprehensible on a scientific level ("you must be born from above"), Nicodemus is forced to ask the obvious question: how.

It's hard to know from the exchange if Nicodemus is persuaded that night or not.  He could have been cynically poking at Jesus, but then wouldn't he want other Pharisees around to enjoy that confrontation?

I think he was asking sincere questions and his other two appearances in John indicate that he was drawn closer to Jesus as a result (John 7:45-52 and John 19:38-39).

For Nicodemus, honest questions and Jesus' willingness to engage meant a growing relationship with the Lord.  Questions that could have been stifled for fear of ridicule or responses that could have been cautiously rendered for fear of whatever agenda Nicodemus had were, instead, the catalyst for dialogue and eventual conversion.

I'd like us to get to a point where questions were encouraged, and where we are willing to admit we don't have it all worked out, and we don't know all there is to know, and we can believe parts and be unconvinced by parts and have dialogue.  Rather than be threatened by this, we might find, as did Nicodemus, that it leads to something more. 

John 3:1-21 will help you know Nicodemus' story before we hear it together on Sunday.  So that you can hear it at the time you intend to, remember to "spring forward" this weekend.  Turn your clocks ahead one hour and we'll see you in worship.