Book Review Part 6 of Dan Lioy’s “Jesus as Torah in John 1-12”; Chp. 4 “Jesus as Torah in John 2-4: Jesus as Torah Teaching Nicodemus (John 2:23-3:21)”

Posted: January 10, 2008 by Rick Hogaboam in Biblical Studies, Book Reviews, Christology
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Jesus as Torah Teaching Nicodemus (John 2:23-3:21) 

This incident, in my estimation, is persuasive to Lioy’s premise that Jesus is Torah. Nicodemus was a Pharisee and member of the Sanhedrin. Lioy also notes that Nicodemus was “Israel’s teacher” (p. 89). Lioy comments, “This reference has led some to think that he had a special position as the premier instructor to the nation. The more likely option is that Jesus affirmed the status of Nicodemus as a highly esteemed rabbi among his religious peers” (p. 89).

Either way, Nicodemus represents the cream of the crop as a rabbi and teacher of the Torah. His encounter with Jesus, who is the fullness of the Torah, makes him look like a confused child. Jesus even shows some shock that Nicodemus was clueless with what was said. Jesus told him that one must be born again or born from above, to which Jesus further adds that we must be born of both water and Spirit. Nicodemus was confused and Jesus offers further clarification. It is unclear whether Nicodemus full got it, but the fact that Nicodemus later defended Jesus and assisted in his burial shows that he, at the very least, respected Jesus.

Lioy comments well on this encounter of one rabbi standing before the infinitely superior Rabbi, who Himself is the Torah, Jesus:

“Thankfully for Nicodemus, he was talking with someone who could speak with authority regarding eternal matters. While the Jews possessed God’s revelation in the Mosaic law (cf. Rom. 9:4), no one but the Son of Man had ever gone into heaven or come back to describe it (cf. John 1:51; 3:31; 6:41-42). Also, because Jesus is the divine, incarnate Torah, He alone can unveil heaven’s true nature to humanity (3:13)” (p. 92).

 

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