There was a man named Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader who was a Pharisee. After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus. “Rabbi,” he said, “we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you.” Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”
Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a member of the high council, the Sanhedrin. They had some of the best religious education of any Jews of their day. Yet Jesus and John the Baptist often criticized the Pharisees for being hypocrites. Jesus undermined their authority and challenged their views. For that reason, most Pharisees were hostile to Jesus.
Thus, there were a lot of factors that could have caused Nicodemus to write Jesus off. Why should he go talk to a clear enemy? Besides, Nicodemus was well-educated and well-informed. He had good reasons for what he believed. But instead of reinforcing his position, Nicodemus decided to hear Jesus out.
Like Nicodemus, we must examine Jesus for ourselves. He may say things that don’t make sense to us. That was certainly Nicodemus’s experience. This passage doesn’t tell us whether Nicodemus left convinced about Jesus (see John 7:50-51; 19:39), but he certainly left having heard Jesus for himself. We should be willing to listen to Jesus on his terms.
Nicodemus had plenty of religious education, but he was still lacking something—he needed to be born again. In the same way, our knowledge isn’t sufficient. We must look to Jesus and listen to him to understand and respond to heavenly things.