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We do not find any miracle in John 1. Andrew and his companions—Peter, Philip, and Nathaniel—were all brought to Jesus without miracles. The work was in their souls. The word, "Behold the Lamb of God," had awakened their going to the Lord; and to seek Him as "the Lamb of God" is to seek Him as sinners, as those who have discovered their moral condition. This is far different from having been drawn to Him by a wonder (see Acts 8:1313Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done. (Acts 8:13)), and the difference that followed was great. The Lord gave Himself to those who sought Him, and reached Him, in chapter 1; but He did not commit Himself to those who believed on Him in chapter 2—believed on Him because they saw His miracles.
So again we may observe, in chapter 4, there is no miracle under the eye of either the Samaritan woman or the villagers of Sychar. Conscience was stirred. They receive Him as "the Savior," and He is at home with them at once. He commits Himself to them, as He does not to those in chapter 2; but as He received Andrew and his companion to His dwelling place in chapter 1, so now He goes to the dwelling places of the Samaritans in chapter 4.
Such, however, is the beautiful variety of moral illustration in the Book of God, that in chapter 3, in the midst of all this, we get Nicodemus occupying his own peculiar place. He was attracted by the miracles, as those of chapter 2 had been; but then his soul was reached, as theirs had not been. It did not end with him as it had begun. He did not merely wonder and believe, but he wonders, ponders, is exercised in his soul, and seeks—timidly indeed, but still he seeks—Jesus. The miracle had put him on a journey to Him who had wrought it, as something more than a mere worker of wonders, and the result is peculiar as is the thing itself. The Lord does not take him to Himself at once, as He had done those in chapters 1 and 4, nor does He refuse to commit Himself to him, as He had refused to do with them in chapter 2. He is patient, and yet decided. He exposes him, forcing him to learn himself; but still He goes on with him, in a measure committing Himself to him.
But here let me ask, as in chapter 2:24, what is committing Himself to others? It is this: forming real, living alliance with them—consenting to know them as with personal knowledge, and in the bonds of fellowship. Jesus cannot do this with one who believes in Him merely historically, as it were, or by force of evidence, as the multitude in Jerusalem then did, and as Christendom now does. It is with a sinner He has come to form alliance, and friendship, and fellowship for eternity! The fragments of convicted hearts must be the links between man and Him, and the outgoings of divine saving grace. Our need and His fullness—we as sinners and He as Savior—must form these links. And such links are at the end, I judge, formed between Jesus the Savior and Nicodemus the sinner.
Nicodemus is seen a second time, in chapter 7, standing for righteousness in the Person of Jesus, in the midst of the Jewish elders. But this seems to me to carry him but a little beyond where he is in chapter 3. He is still the companion of the Jewish rulers, acting with them, though doubtless under some misgivings of soul; and timidly still, as the one that had before come to Jesus by night; and in small measure owning the righteous One. But in chapter 19 he has surely advanced. Here he puts himself on the side of the world's victim. He stands as with God Himself, in relation to Jesus there. God will provide that blessed sufferer with a glorious resurrection by-and-by; Nicodemus and his companion, Joseph, will, in their way, provide Him with a tomb and grave clothes now. Their spices shall perfume that sepulcher which ere long divine power shall rend asunder.
Surely Nicodemus was now occupying the place which the early word of Jesus in chapter 3 had told him of. Is he not now, in spirit, looking at the uplifted serpent, the crucified, healing Son of man? And may we not judge that from thenceforth he was one to whom Jesus committed Himself?
Do we know that Jesus has committed Himself to us?