John 3:2 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

John 3:2, NIV: "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.'"

John 3:2, ESV: "This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.”"

John 3:2, KJV: "The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him."

John 3:2, NASB: "this man came to Jesus at night and said to Him, 'Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.'"

John 3:2, NLT: "After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus. 'Rabbi,' he said, 'we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you.'"

John 3:2, CSB: "This man came to him at night and said, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God, for no one could perform these signs you do unless God were with him.""

What does John 3:2 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Nicodemus was an important person. He was a respected Pharisee, a knowledgeable teacher, and a member of the Sanhedrin court. By the time of Jesus' death, Nicodemus seems to be one of His supporters (John 19:39–42). For now, though, he approaches Christ under cover of night. This might have been out of fear that he would be seen asking questions of Jesus. It's also possible that Nicodemus wanted to speak to Jesus without the distraction of a large crowd.

Addressing Jesus as "Rabbi" was a gesture of respect, but Nicodemus would have been called "Rabbi" by others, as well. To some extent, this suggests that Nicodemus sees himself and Jesus as equals, at least at first. Jesus will humble Nicodemus during the conversation, showing him that he doesn't understand spirituality as well as he thinks he does (John 3:10). The gospel of John presents Jesus' miracles as proof that He has divine power. Nicodemus recognizes this, and interprets Jesus' abilities as a sign that He was sent by God. However, he still has questions about Jesus' teachings.