Teacher to Teacher


Previously, Nicodemus—Pharisee, Sanhedrin member, and ruling Jewish teacher—stole away to have a dead-of-night question and answer session with Jesus; he desired further clarity on the man who performed miraculous signs, the “teacher come from God” (John 3:1). In terms of Nicodemus’ religious background, he had all the right answers. But while his curiosity was great, his theology was still lacking. In today’s passage, we see what happens when a teacher of Israel learns from the teacher of Israel.

  • Where do you go or to whom do you turn for knowledge about God?


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.

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. Previously, Jesus had told Nicodemus that a person must be born again (“born of the Spirit”) to see God’s kingdom and have eternal life. What does Nicodemus’ response in verse 9 indicate about the extent of his understanding or belief in what Jesus said?
  2. What does Jesus’ challenge imply about Nicodemus’ understanding of Old Testament revelation concerning spiritual regeneration (vs. 10)?
  3. What was Jesus getting at regarding his authority and testimony, and whether or not Nicodemus understood these things (vss. 11-12)? Think about your own experience—how have you been exposed to Jesus through Scripture? Have you received his testimony?
  4. What all did Jesus confirm about himself (vss. 12-13)? What did he predict (vs. 14)? For what purpose would he be “lifted up”—crucified, buried, resurrected, and exalted (vs. 15)?
  5. Jesus is the divine Son of Man who experienced and exposed heavenly things. Have you entrusted yourself to his testimony for eternal life?


Nicodemus had training, resources, and the entire Old Testament at his disposal. He even had Jesus’ firsthand, authoritative testimony pointing him to an understanding and belief in the promised Messiah of Israel. Nicodemus had knowledge, and even the revelation of “heavenly things” by Jesus, but not belief.

We are not much unlike Nicodemus. We often think we have all the right answers, all the religious answers. But do we concede that our earthly knowledge might be limited? And do we seek and submit to the only one who has known, seen, and testified to the things of heaven?

  • Confess to Jesus what you know to be true of him from Scripture.
  • Submit yourself to his authority today.