AMONG those who witnessed with deep interest the miracles of Christ at the Passover was a wealthy Pharisee, named Nicodemus. This man was a ruler of the Jews, and undoubtedly a member of the national council called the Sanhedrim. 

The people so thronged about the Saviour that a private interview by day was impossible. So Nicodemus came by night to converse with him. He was a man of great learning and influence, yet he addressed the Saviour in terms of the highest respect, saying, ''Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God; for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.  "The use of the term we seems to imply that other members of the Sanhedrim, as well as Nicodemus, knew Christ to be a divine teacher, but would not own it. The answer, which Jesus gave him, was at once prompt and searching,

"Verily, verily I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."  Apparently not wishing the Saviour to know that he comprehended his meaning, Nicodemus gave a literal interpretation to his words, and then expressed his astonishment at what would thus be impossible.

Jesus then presented the thought in words, which could not be misunderstood, "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." Being born of water could mean nothing else than water baptism, and being born of the Spirit must refer to those operations of the Holy Spirit by which man is brought back to the image of his Creator. To use the excellent words of another: "The power of the Holy Spirit transforms the entire man. This change constitutes the new birth. .... The regenerating Spirit of God, taking possession of the mind, transforms the life; wicked thoughts are put away, evil deeds are renounced, love, peace, and humility take the place of anger, envy, and strife. 

That power which no human eye can see, has created a new being in the image of God."

Jesus then refers to the wind to show that the influences of the Spirit are none the less real and powerful because mysterious and unseen. We cannot see the wind, we cannot tell whence it comes or whither it goes; yet it is powerful in its effects. Just so it is with the Spirit. Its operations are mysterious, yet we know them to be real from the effects produced.

But Nicodemus still marveled, and said, "How can these things be? Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? Verily, verily I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness." This seems to imply that Nicodemus and others had very little practical knowledge of what they taught.

It appears probable that Nicodemus wanted to know about the mysteries of Heaven; but the Saviour persisted in telling him only what he most needed to know. He says, "If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?" He then goes on to show him the only way of salvation. "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned; but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 

For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God."