|New International Version (©2011)|
He came to Jesus at night and said, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him."
New Living Translation (©2007)
After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus. "Rabbi," he said, "we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you."
English Standard Version (©2001)
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.”
New American Standard Bible (©1995)
this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, "Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him."
King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, 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.
Holman Christian Standard Bible (©2009)
This man came to Him at night and said, "Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher, for no one could perform these signs You do unless God were with him."
International Standard Version (©2012)
He came to Jesus at night and told him, "Rabbi, we know that you have come from God as a teacher, because no one can perform these signs that you are doing unless God is with him."
NET Bible (©2006)
came to Jesus at night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs that you do unless God is with him."
Aramaic Bible in Plain English (©2010)
This man came to Yeshua at night and said to him: “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher sent from God, for no man is able to do these miracles that you are doing unless God were with him.”
GOD'S WORD® Translation (©1995)
He came to Jesus one night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that God has sent you as a teacher. No one can perform the miracles you perform unless God is with him."
King James 2000 Bible (©2003)
The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that you do, except God be with him.
American King James Version
The same came to Jesus by night, and said to him, Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that you do, except God be with him.
American Standard Version
the same came unto him by night, and said to him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that thou doest, except God be with him.
This man came to Jesus by night, and said to him: Rabbi, we know that thou art come a teacher from God; for no man can do these signs which thou dost, unless God be with him.
Darby Bible Translation
he came to him by night, and said to him, Rabbi, we know that thou art come a teacher from God, for none can do these signs that thou doest unless God be with him.
English Revised Version
The same came unto him by night, and said to him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these signs that thou doest, except God be with him.
Webster's Bible Translation
The same came to Jesus by night, and said to him, 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.
Weymouth New Testament
He came to Jesus by night and said, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher from God; for no one can do these miracles which you are doing, unless God is with him.
World English Bible
The same came to him 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."
Young's Literal Translation
this one came unto him by night, and said to him, 'Rabbi, we have known that from God thou hast come -- a teacher, for no one these signs is able to do that thou dost, if God may not be with him.'
|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
3:1-8 Nicodemus was afraid, or ashamed to be seen with Christ, therefore came in the night. When religion is out of fashion, there are many Nicodemites. But though he came by night, Jesus bid him welcome, and hereby taught us to encourage good beginnings, although weak. And though now he came by night, yet afterward he owned Christ publicly. He did not talk with Christ about state affairs, though he was a ruler, but about the concerns of his own soul and its salvation, and went at once to them. Our Saviour spoke of the necessity and nature of regeneration or the new birth, and at once directed Nicodemus to the source of holiness of the heart. Birth is the beginning of life; to be born again, is to begin to live anew, as those who have lived much amiss, or to little purpose. We must have a new nature, new principles, new affections, new aims. By our first birth we were corrupt, shapen in sin; therefore we must be made new creatures. No stronger expression could have been chosen to signify a great and most remarkable change of state and character. We must be entirely different from what we were before, as that which begins to be at any time, is not, and cannot be the same with that which was before. This new birth is from heaven, ch. 1:13, and its tendency is to heaven. It is a great change made in the heart of a sinner, by the power of the Holy Spirit. It means that something is done in us, and for us, which we cannot do for ourselves. Something is wrong, whereby such a life begins as shall last for ever. We cannot otherwise expect any benefit by Christ; it is necessary to our happiness here and hereafter. What Christ speak, Nicodemus misunderstood, as if there had been no other way of regenerating and new-moulding an immortal soul, than by new-framing the body. But he acknowledged his ignorance, which shows a desire to be better informed. It is then further explained by the Lord Jesus. He shows the Author of this blessed change. It is not wrought by any wisdom or power of our own, but by the power of the blessed Spirit. We are shapen in iniquity, which makes it necessary that our nature be changed. We are not to marvel at this; for, when we consider the holiness of God, the depravity of our nature, and the happiness set before us, we shall not think it strange that so much stress is laid upon this. The regenerating work of the Holy Spirit is compared to water. It is also probable that Christ had reference to the ordinance of baptism. Not that all those, and those only, that are baptized, are saved; but without that new birth which is wrought by the Spirit, and signified by baptism, none shall be subjects of the kingdom of heaven. The same word signifies both the wind and the Spirit. The wind bloweth where it listeth for us; God directs it. The Spirit sends his influences where, and when, on whom, and in what measure and degree, he pleases. Though the causes are hidden, the effects are plain, when the soul is brought to mourn for sin, and to breathe after Christ. Christ's stating of the doctrine and the necessity of regeneration, it should seem, made it not clearer to Nicodemus. Thus the things of the Spirit of God are foolishness to the natural man. Many think that cannot be proved, which they cannot believe. Christ's discourse of gospel truths, ver. 11-13, shows the folly of those who make these things strange unto them; and it recommends us to search them out. Jesus Christ is every way able to reveal the will of God to us; for he came down from heaven, and yet is in heaven. We have here a notice of Christ's two distinct natures in one person, so that while he is the Son of man, yet he is in heaven. God is the HE THAT IS, and heaven is the dwelling-place of his holiness. The knowledge of this must be from above, and can be received by faith alone. Jesus Christ came to save us by healing us, as the children of Israel, stung with fiery serpents, were cured and lived by looking up to the brazen serpent, Nu 21:6-9. In this observe the deadly and destructive nature of sin. Ask awakened consciences, ask damned sinners, they will tell you, that how charming soever the allurements of sin may be, at the last it bites like a serpent. See the powerful remedy against this fatal malady. Christ is plainly set forth to us in the gospel. He whom we offended is our Peace, and the way of applying for a cure is by believing. If any so far slight either their disease by sin, or the method of cure by Christ, as not to receive Christ upon his own terms, their ruin is upon their own heads. He has said, Look and be saved, look and live; lift up the eyes of your faith to Christ crucified. And until we have grace to do this, we shall not be cured, but still are wounded with the stings of Satan, and in a dying state. Jesus Christ came to save us by pardoning us, that we might not die by the sentence of the law. Here is gospel, good news indeed. Here is God's love in giving his Son for the world. God so loved the world; so really, so richly. Behold and wonder, that the great God should love such a worthless world! Here, also, is the great gospel duty, to believe in Jesus Christ. God having given him to be our Prophet, Priest, and King, we must give up ourselves to be ruled, and taught, and saved by him. And here is the great gospel benefit, that whoever believes in Christ, shall not perish, but shall have everlasting life. God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, and so saving it. It could not be saved, but through him; there is no salvation in any other. From all this is shown the happiness of true believers; he that believeth in Christ is not condemned. Though he has been a great sinner, yet he is not dealt with according to what his sins deserve. How great is the sin of unbelievers! God sent One to save us, that was dearest to himself; and shall he not be dearest to us? How great is the misery of unbelievers! they are condemned already; which speaks a certain condemnation; a present condemnation. The wrath of God now fastens upon them; and their own hearts condemn them. There is also a condemnation grounded on their former guilt; they are open to the law for all their sins; because they are not by faith interested in the gospel pardon. Unbelief is a sin against the remedy. It springs from the enmity of the heart of man to God, from love of sin in some form. Read also the doom of those that would not know Christ. Sinful works are works of darkness. The wicked world keep as far from this light as they can, lest their deeds should be reproved. Christ is hated, because sin is loved. If they had not hated saving knowledge, they would not sit down contentedly in condemning ignorance. On the other hand, renewed hearts bid this light welcome. A good man acts truly and sincerely in all he does. He desires to know what the will of God is, and to do it, though against his own worldly interest. A change in his whole character and conduct has taken place. The love of God is shed abroad in his heart by the Holy Ghost, and is become the commanding principle of his actions. So long as he continues under a load of unforgiven guilt, there can be little else than slavish fear of God; but when his doubts are done away, when he sees the righteous ground whereon this forgiveness is built, he rests on it as his own, and is united to God by unfeigned love. Our works are good when the will of God is the rule of them, and the glory of God the end of them; when they are done in his strength, and for his sake; to him, and not to men. Regeneration, or the new birth, is a subject to which the world is very averse; it is, however, the grand concern, in comparison with which every thing else is but trifling. What does it signify though we have food to eat in plenty, and variety of raiment to put on, if we are not born again? if after a few mornings and evenings spent in unthinking mirth, carnal pleasure, and riot, we die in our sins, and lie down in sorrow? What does it signify though we are well able to act our parts in life, in every other respect, if at last we hear from the Supreme Judge, Depart from me, I know you not, ye workers of iniquity?
Verse 2. - This man came to him by night, and said unto him. To suppose, with many commentators (after Augustine), that the night is here symbolic of the mental condition of the man, is far-fetched. Thoma, here intent on his principle of the fabricated character of the Gospel, compares this to King Saul (Paul's ancestor!) going by night to Samuel - a type of Christ! There is more probability that the night of the Last Supper was in the mind of John, and that these two nights, the one at the beginning, the other at the close of the ministry of Jesus - nights of extraordinary significance - were impressed ineffaceably on his memory, and, to some extent, contrasted with each other. Nicodemus did not fear the Lord or his disciples, but his own colleagues, whose excitement had already betrayed their sentiments. Without "believing on his Name," they had come to some conclusions, and Nicodemus with them. Rabbi, said he, we know. He does not conceal a common sentiment at that moment agitating his own class in society, and he bestows the honorific title of Rabbi, "my Master," which, as coming from a learned doctor to a humble peasant, was a remarkable testimony to the effect Jesus had indirectly exerted beyond the circle of his immediate hearers: that thou art a Teacher come from God. The phrase, ἀπὸ Θεοῦ, precedes "the Teacher come." Certainly it yields to Jesus great dignity. He is God-sent, like the prophets of old. He has a right to teach. His doctorate is a heavenly diploma; and Nicodemus draws a wiser conclusion than the many did who, in some sense, believed on his Name. They were rushing heedlessly forward to further conclusions. Nicodemus saw a grand authority as a Teacher of men, a Heaven-sent Messenger, in the Lord Jesus, and he came to this conclusion from the settled persuasion that no man can do the signs which thou art performing, if God be not with him. This confession was true, indicating candid and honest inquiry and a teachable mind. It was the very truth which Peter in subsequent times gave to Cornelius as explanation of the healing and beneficent powers of Jesus. Christ knew the whole man, understood at once the honesty of the inquiry, and did entrust himself to Nicodemus. There was more faith in this modest inquiry, in this honest scepticism of his own position, than in the clamours and hosannas of the fickle crowd.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The same came to Jesus by night,.... Through fear of the Jews, of being reproached or turned out of his place by them; or through shame, that such a doctor as he was, should be known to go to Jesus of Nazareth, to be instructed by him; or lest he should offend any of his brethren of the sanhedrim: though some things may be said in favour of this conduct of Nicodemus; for since Christ would not trust himself with those that believed in him upon seeing his miracles, John 2:23, among whom Nicodemus seems to be; or would not admit them into his company, and enter into a free conversation with him; it was necessary, that if he would have any discourse with him, that he should take this method; and if it was the same night, in which he had seen his miracles in the day, as is probable, he took the first opportunity he could, and which shows great readiness and respect; add to which, that it was very common with the Jewish doctors, to meet and converse together, and study the law in the night.
"R. Aba rose, , "in the middle of the night", and the rest of the companions, to study in the law (e).''
And it is often (f) said of R. Simeon ben Joehal, and Eleazar his son, that they sat in the night and laboured in the law; and it was reckoned very commendable so to do, and highly pleasing to God: it is said (g),
"whoever studies in the law in the night, the holy blessed God draws a thread of mercy upon him in the day:''
and likewise (h), that
"every one that studies in the law in the night, the Shekinah is over against him.''
But it seems, the Babylonian Jews did not study in the law in the night (i): it might seem a needless question to ask, whether Nicodemus came alone, or not, were it not that according to the Jewish canon (k) a scholar might not go out in the night alone, because of suspicion:
and said unto him, Rabbi; a title which now greatly obtained among the Jewish doctors, and of which they were very fond; See Gill on Matthew 23:7. It comes from a word, which signifies great and large; and was used by them, to suggest the large compass, and great plenty of knowledge they would be thought to have had; and best becomes and suits with our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are: salutations among the Jews, were forbidden in the night (l);
"says R. Jochanan, it is forbidden a man to salute his neighbour in the night, lest it should be a demon:''
but here was no such danger; nor was this salutation made in the street, and in the dark, which the canon seems to respect:
we know that thou art a teacher come from God; the Jews expected the Messiah as a teacher, which they might learn from many prophecies, as from Isaiah 2:2. Upon the first of which, and on that passage in it, "he will teach us of his ways", a noted commentator (m) of theirs has this remark;
"the teacher", he is the King Messiah.''
And the Targum on Joel 2:23 paraphrases the words thus:
"O ye children of Zion, rejoice and be glad in the word of the Lord your God, for he will return , "your teacher" to you.''
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2. came to Jesus by night—One of those superficial "believers" mentioned in Joh 2:23, 24, yet inwardly craving further satisfaction, Nicodemus comes to Jesus in quest of it, but comes "by night" (see Joh 19:38, 39; 12:42); he avows his conviction that He was
come from God—an expression never applied to a merely human messenger, and probably meaning more here—but only as "a teacher," and in His miracles he sees a proof merely that "God is with Him." Thus, while unable to repress his convictions, he is afraid of committing himself too far.
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