The aim of this devotional study is to remind yourself that ALL are in need of Christ’s atoning grace, regardless of gender, class, culture or race.
Today we will do a comparative study, comparing Nicodemus (John 3) with the woman at the well (John 4) and see what we learn from Christ’s interaction with them.
1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.”
3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
9 Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? 11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. 16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
Observations and reflection
Note: In the gospel of John the author deliberately places two accounts of individual encounters with Jesus next to each other – in stark contrast – to highlight one truth about the universal need of all people.
- Compare Nicodemus to the Samaritan woman at the well with one another by studying the text above.
|Comparison||Nicodemus (John 3:1-18)||The Samaritan woman (John 4:1-42)|
|Education||No notable education|
|Political Status||No political status|
|Religious Status||No religious status|
|Time of encounter||At noon|
|Venue of encounter||In public|
|Who initiated?||Jesus initiated the conversation|
- What do you learn by comparing the two people who encountered Jesus above?
- Although Nicodemus was an educated Jewish man of religious and political status he sensed life with Jesus that he did not know. Summarize Jesus’ answer about the key to that life.
Personal reflection and Application
By placing these two accounts next to each other John deliberately shows that Jesus is indeed “God so loved the World that He gave His Son so that WHOEVER believes in Him shall be saved…” (3:16) and “this man is indeed the Savior of the world!” (John 4:42)
- We mostly find it easier to witness and “share the Gospel” to the poor and uneducated – to the “Samaritan women” we encounter. But we tend to withhold our witness to the rich, educated and powerful – the “Nicodemus”-like people we live and work with.
- Why do you/we find it harder to witness to rich people?
- Why do you/we find it harder to witness to educated people?
- Why do you/we find it harder to witness to influential people?
- What intimidates you? Why?
- What are the big things all people have in common?
- Why does every person need to hear the gospel and respond?
- List a few “Nicodemus”-like people who work or live around you. Who will tell them of the life-giving power of Christ?
Again, thank God for the person who introduced you to Christ, and His generous gift of salvation and pray that God will bless that person. Ask the Lord for grace to see the heart and minds of ALL PEOPLE through the eyes of God – especially those who live with more money and power in this world. Then pray for those Nicodemus-like people in your life by name, that God will make them receptive for the Gospel and that you will be bold to speak when the time comes.
A meeting at night, a meeting at noon
One was rich and one was poor
One a Samaritan, the other a Jew
But both needed Christ
As I do you.