John: Chapter 3
NOW there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 2 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 3d chapter of John opens with a narrative of Nicodemus, "a ruler of the Jews," his visit to Jesus "by night" (meaning the darkness of intellectual understanding), and his confession: "Thou art a teacher from God; for no one can do these signs that thou doest, except God be with him."
Jesus told him that he must be "born anew," "of water and the Spirit." Here is a recognition by the Master of the operation of the divine law of evolution.
All "inheritance" of ideas and beliefs has a mental basis. We "inherit" some states of mind from our ancestors. An "inherited" or transmitted religion is a dark state, if there is no real understanding in it. This is the Nicodemus mentality. Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a ruler of the Jews. He represents the Pharisaical side of our mentality that observes the external forms of religion without understanding their real meaning. We accept our parents' religious affiliations without giving any thought to their origin. There was a time when it was considered unfilial and an evidence of disobedience for the children to join any other church than that to which their parents belonged. The Jews