© 2018 by Thurber Studios LLC

Learn the story behind this painting!

Dear Nicodemus

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  • The story behind this painting:

     

    John 3 (NIV)

    1 Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

     3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.[a]”

     4 “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

     5 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit[b] gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You[c] must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”[d]

     9 “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.

     

    Dear Nicodemus is a visual response to Nicodemus’ question. It illustrates baptism: the exchange of an old heart, bathed in the blood of the humanity of Jesus. The old heart is buried beneath the waters, and out emerges a new life: tender, innocent, and completely reliant on the good Father who holds the baby in his hands. Here is where the Godhead and humanity intersect: the Son and the Father’s hands, the Holy Spirit symbolized in the water of baptism, the fallen and the redeemed Creation. 

    Jesus says that only one who is born again is able to see the kingdom of God. One who is born again has the Holy Spirit inside of him, new “spiritual eyes” that allow him so see spiritual things. The believer does not fit so naturally in the world anymore because he realizes that it is not his eternal home. Upon reflecting on his new reality, the believer finds that the old, unspiritual way of living is only a shadow, an upside-down carbon-copy of the life God intended when he created the world. Dear Nicodemus portrays the moment of awakening to real life after the metaphorical death of the flesh through baptism. It is an awakening to the way of life that God is now redeeming and welcoming us into, calling us his own children and inheritance.

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