THE Teacher of Israel
“There was a man named Nicodemus who was one of the Pharisees and an important Jewish leader. One night Nicodemus came to Jesus and said, “Teacher, we know you are a teacher sent from God, because no one can do the miracles you do unless God is with him.”
John 3:1-2 NCV
He came by night seeking the miracle worker. Nicodemus had been a part of the sea of people in Jerusalem that had just witnessed whatever signs and wonders Jesus had performed that day. Nicodemus saw Jesus drive out the temple merchants. He was a Pharisee. He was probably in the temple compound. He would have had first hand knowledge of Jesus’ righteous indignation of His Father’s House being treated so corruptly. This new miracle worker must have intrigued Nicodemus. Jesus probably had the attention of every Pharisee in Jerusalem by this time. I don’t know, maybe their little click sent Nicodemus; maybe Nicodemus came on his own. The bible doesn’t say. All I know is Nicodemus came. Whatever Jesus had done or said that day in Jerusalem piqued the curiosity of this renown teacher of Israel. Even Jesus acknowledged Nicodemus with respect and with uniqueness.
“Jesus replied, ‘Are you the teacher of Israel, and yet do not know or understand these things? (Are they strange to you?) John 3:10 AMP.
Three letters. T – H – E. (The) – it is an article in English grammar. Article words are used with nouns to indicate the type of reference being made by the noun. Boring right? But as I read John 3:10 in the Amplified Version, I had to follow where my thoughts took me. The – an article that determines the noun. It is a qualifying word that denotes uniqueness. Jesus validated Nicodemus as THE teacher of Israel.
The teacher came by night to seek someone who performed things Nicodemus could never do. The teacher came by night to listen to a new teacher who taught with wisdom of the ages. At times, I wish I could have been there in Jerusalem that day. I try to put myself on that side of history. What were the things Jesus did that sent this unique teacher of the law to Jesus’ abode in the cover of night to seek Him? Nicodemus said, “We know you are a teacher from God, because no one can do the miracles you do unless God is with him.” Again, what were those miracles? Whatever they were, the signs Jesus performed in the capital of Israel validated Jesus’ God-given authority. You see these Pharisees were a proud group. There were no newbies to their sect. A new teacher didn’t just arrive on the scene. To be recognized by these guys, you had to have been trained and taught by the best of the best. Jesus was not recognized amongst Nicodemus’ peers. No known Pharisee had ever trained Jesus. So where did this Galilean come from, and who gave Him his authority? Whatever signs and miracles Jesus had just exemplified had validated him in Nicodemus’ eyes as a teacher sent from God.
Nicodemus was famous among those in Israel. He bore the title of “The teacher of Israel.” He was renowned as a wise and learned man. People came to him seeking his wisdom, but for one night of his life he laid down pride and prejudice and he came seeking someone with more than he possessed. Jesus was a no one among Nicodemus’ friends, but there was just something about this new preacher man. Whatever sly little glimpse he attained from Jesus on this day left him wanting more. So he slipped in quietly in the dark seeking Jesus’ knowledge. He who had great knowledge sought Him with the greatest knowledge.
I humbly urge each of us, lay it down. Lay down all the wisdom that is in us and give diligent heed to seeking the One who contains the wisdom of the ages. Jesus came to this earth and wrapped inside of Him was the wisdom and knowledge that created the universe. He knows all things. He sees all our thoughts and He is the only one who has the solution for all our problems.