10 Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things?
From verse 10 forward, Jesus took over the discussion to further expound on the nature of spiritual birth.
10 Jesus answered and said to him,
Jesus began with a sharp retort to Nicodemus. The two words “answered” and “said” form a climax to Jesus’ answer to Nicodemus.
“Are you the teacher of Israel,
The title “the teacher of Israel” indicates that Nicodemus had national status of communicating the values and national direction for the kingdom. He was a ranking theological professor in the nation Israel. This man was an established teacher of those in Israel; however, his biases kept him from the truth. We might have expected something more from someone who was one of the major theologians in the nation.
and do not know these things?
There is solemnity here to Jesus’ discussion of spiritual birth because it has great implications on the soul. Clearly, Nicodemus knew nothing of the doctrine of regeneration. He did not understand the doctrine of regeneration in the Old Testament, even as a Pharisee. His lack of understanding is inexcusable because he had extensive knowledge of the Old Testament. This statement by Jesus was a harsh reprimand for such ignorance of a leader in Israel.
Nicodemus’ knowledge of the Old Testament was not adequate. He did not let its full teaching penetrate his heart. Pharisaic theology made him immune to truth. He could not appropriate what he did not know. Anything outside his preconceived understanding from his tradition was not acceptable to him.
God always puts blame in proper focus.
Most people who reject truth do so because they are numb or adverse to truth and not because they cannot understand it. It is difficult to stop believing in something false. Wrong doctrine always obscures truth. It is amazing that people living in spiritual bankruptcy still hang onto the systems that do not serve them.