Summary of passage: Here we see repetition from earlier in the chapter. The people are divided on who Jesus is: The Prophet, The Christ, or just a man from Galilee. Again, no one could lay on hand on Jesus because his time had not yet come as the guards admit he speaks so differently. The Pharisees don’t understand how the educated ones (them) don’t believe in Jesus but the uneducated ones (the rabble) do. Nicodemus, not admitting he may believe, says they shouldn’t be so quick to condemn him. Again, the Pharisees say no prophet can come from Galilee.
11) The promised ruler or prophet to rescue them from the Romans. Because he was one of them who performed miracles and spoke of ushering in a kingdom (of heaven of course) but they thought on earth.
12a) Feebly if you ask me and it was barely a defense. Instead of saying he may believe in Jesus, he just pointed out how Jesus needs a fair hearing before being condemned. No. The Jewish leaders had already convicted Jesus because he was wielding too much power and a threat to them and their rule and way of life. Nicodemus did point out the leaders hypocrisy in not following the law as written but claiming they do.
b) Personal Question. My answer: Jesus has his timing is a frequent defense of mine when others complain of unanswered prayers. I think Nicodemus defended Jesus half-heartedly, afraid still for his life. I defend him whole-heartedly.
Conclusions: Nothing has changed in terms of the people since Jesus first stepped out on the scene. Some believe; some don’t. Seeing the tentativeness of Nicodemus is eye-opening. We can’t be like that. Jesus desires every warrior on his side whole-heartedly. We must be bold, not timid, and answer his call when it comes.
End Notes: Some thought an ancient prophet would be risen from the dead and precede the Messiah. Others thought of Jesus as the Messiah. Some rejected him and some were ignorant of Jesus’ origins and his birth.
Jesus elicted strong opinions about who he was. “Divided” is a strong word. However, the followers of Christ should never be divided. We are united because of Christ and the cross.
Again, the officers could not arrest Jesus because it was not his time yet. He spoke like no man and the Greek implication here is that he’s more than a man.
The pride of the Pharisees shines here as they can’t believe commoners/uneducated people can believe in Jesus when they are the ones who obviously know everything. This is the pilgrim crowd who has come for the Festival of Tabernacles. The Pharisees exaggerated the ignorance of the people knowledge of Scripture (which was probably better than the average Christian of today and they couldn’t read). However, the average Jew did pay little attention to the details, being too bogged down with the struggle for daily subsistence and hard physical labor. Hence, these regulations were widely disregarded.
Nicodemus did point out the untruth of a leader believing in Jesus and did point out their hypocrisy as they disregarded their own laws in condemning Jesus by hearsay.
Again, we see the prejudice against Galileans as the religious leaders believe nothing good comes from there.
In fact, a prophet had risen from Galilee. Jonah (who was a picture of Jesus Christ) came from Gath Hepher, which was three miles north of Nazareth in Lower Galilee (2 Kings 14:25). Elijah was from Thisbe; and perhaps also Nahum and Hosea were from Galilee. Their contempt for Galilee made them lose sight of historical accuracy. Most importantly, the Pharisees overlooked the idea that God can choose a prophet from anywhere He likes.