Student or Scholar?

Rebecca Van Noord

Sometimes we approach God with curiosity, but not with a spirit of humility. We enjoy participating in religious discussions, but forging the link between interpretation and application is difficult for us. We have certain expectations of who He should be for us, but we don’t think about how we should align our lives with Him.


Nicodemus—a Pharisee, a leader of his fellow Jews, and a teacher of Israel—wanted answers from Jesus. He told Him, “we know that you are a teacher who has come from God, for no one is able to perform these signs that you are performing unless God were with him” (John 3:2). Was Jesus a Messiah, like Moses or David, who would restore Israel?


The scholar quickly became a student. Through His answers, Jesus showed Nicodemus that he wasn’t in a place to hold Jesus accountable. Rather, it was the other way around: Nicodemus needed to be challenged and transformed. He was a teacher of Israel, but he didn’t really understand Jesus’ teaching; his questions showed that he was hesitant to even believe Him, despite all the signs.


We might be like Nicodemus, approaching God with off-par expectations. Jesus showed Nicodemus that he had to receive the transforming work of the Holy Spirit. In order to see the kingdom of God and enter into it, we need to do the same.

Are you teachable? Do you approach God ready to learn and apply His words?


Barry, J. D., & Van Noord, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.