The New Testament has much to say on the topic of evangelism. The beginnings of the church age was one of incredible ambition as the followers of Christ spread the Gospel to the then known world. We can learn many different styles and forms of evangelism. The root of evangelism is found in the teachings of Christ. He set the stage and let His disciples with not only words but also actions as He shared His mission and the salvation message. In Matthew 13:1-18 Jesus gives us the example of the sower. In this parable we see a farmer planting seed and the seed falls on various types of soil. Each type of soil represents how the seed responded. In this paper I will discuss and compare how three individuals heard the word of God, and how they responded to the Word of God. Each of these individuals; Nicodemus (John Chapter 3), the woman at the well (John Chapter 4), and the rich young ruler (Luke 18:18-30) heard the message of salvation from Jesus Christ himself. Nicodemus (John Chapter 13)
Before diving into detail about Nicodemus the Pharisee, it is important to view what a Pharisee was back in ancient antiquity, and how they were portrayed in John. A Pharisee was a Jewish sect which emphasized strict adherence to the purity laws set forth in the Torah. 1 In the Gospel of John, Pharisees function both as government officials and as the learned doctors of the Jewish law who are interested in Jesus’ teachings and dispute its truth. The Pharisees are an observant and disbelieving opponent of Jesus and his teachings. They compete with Jesus for influence with the people and attempt to undermine his teachings. They had influence with the people 1. Bart D. Ehrman, A Brief Introduction to the New Testament p.40-41.
because they were accepted as the standards of Jewish behavior and belief in their society. 2 Knowing what a Pharisee was and how they function in John’s Gospel and during antiquity makes it possible to understand the meaning of the story the Pharisee named Nicodemus. The interaction in the beginning of the chapter between Nicodemus and Jesus exemplifies how Pharisees and Jewish officials act in John’s Gospel. Throughout the Gospel, they are known for not believing in Jesus and his teachings.
In the conversation which Nicodemus initiates, we see that Jesus is the focused. Nicodemus has not come to talk about himself or about Pharisaism. He has come to find out about Jesus, His message, and His relationship to God. What does Jesus have to say for Himself? Nicodemus opens the door by assuring Jesus that he sees Him as a man with a mission and a message from God. It is a perfect opener for Jesus. All He has to do is pick up from here and tell Nicodemus what His mission is. It doesn’t turn out at all as Nicodemus may have expected. It is important to note that Nicodemus came to Jesus at night (John 3:2). The usage of night may seem insignificant at first, but it is important to look at considering John’s symbolical usage of light and darkness throughout the Gospel. Night represents unbelief or misunderstanding, while daylight represents clarity and faith in Christ. Like previously describe, Nicodemus is aware of Jesus and his teachings, but he does not completely comprehend the significance of him. John uses “light” at the end of the verse when Jesus says, “But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may 2. David N. Freedman, et al., ed. The Anchor Bible Dictionary. p.297-298. be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God” (John 3:21). John uses this to contrast dark and light in the chapter. He showed in the beginning of the chapter that dark led to Nicodemus’ lack of understanding. He finishes the chapter by saying that if one believes in Jesus, they will come to the light. In other words, John uses light as the path to salvation. John uses characters such as Nicodemus to show to unbelief and misunderstanding of Jesus.
As mentioned in the previous paragraph, John compares light and dark...
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