The Berean Expositor
Volume 20 - Page 132 of 195
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Here then are three relationships in which, we hold, believing Gentiles stand to-day
who are outside the sphere of the dispensation of the mystery. They are associated with
the Bride, they are associated with the Flock, and they partake of the Living Bread, and
so of a common life.
Nicodemus and heavenly things.
pp. 184 - 188
"If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you
heavenly things?" (John 3: 12).
The record of the Lord's dealings with Nicodemus may throw some light upon the
way in which seekers after truth belonging to the great outer circle may be led on and
encouraged. Nicodemus appears three times in this Gospel, viz., John 3: 1-12,
7: 50-52 and 19: 39. In each case the reader's attention is drawn to the fact that he
came by night:--
"The same came to Jesus by night" (3: 2).
"He that came to Jesus by night" (7: 50).
"Which at the first came to Jesus by night" (19: 39).
In the first case Nicodemus approached the Lord with evident desire to learn of Him,
but very probably with no other really fixed idea.  Considering the greatness of
Nicodemus, who is described as "the teacher of Israel", and the great wealth which
Rabbinical tradition ascribes to him, his manner of addressing the Lord, Who was,
externally, but a Galilean peasant, was respectful and conciliating.  He called Him
"Rabbi", and admitted that God must be with Him.
The occasion of his second appearance is less peaceful. A division was coming
among the people because of the Lord. Some said, "Of a truth this is The Prophet",
others said, "This is The Christ", whilst some asked, "Shall Christ come out of Galilee?"
(7: 40, 41). This division among the common people, however, was not a matter likely
to move a man of the standing of Nicodemus, for the attitude of the rulers to common
people was one of contempt, as is expressed in 7: 49, "But this people that knoweth not
the Law are cursed". But what does seem to indicate a move in the direction of faith on
this second occasion is the fact that, in spite of the Pharisees having asked, "Have any of
the rulers or the Pharisees believed on Him?"  (7: 48), Nicodemus had dared to
interpose the question, "Doth our law judge any man before it hear him, and know what
he doeth" (7: 51).
Again, while he shared the same unbelief concerning the resurrection of the Lord as
was common among the disciples, his third appearance finds him coming into the open as
a self-confessed disciple, bringing his offering of myrrh and aloes. Certainly we may