[Oct 11]--Nighttime Visitor, Part Two

John 3:9-15

Continuing in his conversation with Nicodemus, it seems that Jesus’ words are getting more and more enigmatic as he goes on. I find it a little humorous that the Lord rebukes him for not knowing this already. It’s as if he’s saying that this all should've been old-hat to him, that his studies in the Scriptures should've clued him into all this beforehand. What could've the Teacher been referring to? Well, there are several passages that hint at this complete change of nature which we need to enter God’s kingdom. Ezekiel 36:25-26 is pretty clear: He promised to sprinkle clean water on his people to make them clean, and to replace their heart of stone with a new heart of flesh. He promised in Deut 30:6 that he would circumcise their hearts and thus they “may love him with all [their] heart and with all [their] soul, and live.”

He then goes into some pretty deep theology, all of which has a point to make. He's trying to keep it simple, but even that isn’t straightforward enough for Nicodemus's (and our) limited understanding. We can’t even grasp “earthly” things, so we’re definitely not ready for “heavenly” things. No one has access to the truth that Jesus does, but we need to be humble and recognize that there are things in heaven and earth that are waaaaay beyond our comprehension.

The image of Moses lifting up the serpent in the wilderness is interesting. Numbers 21:4-9 tells the story: The people of Israel rebelled and grumbled against the Lord (again), and he punished them by sending venomous snakes into their midst. They prayed to the Lord and asked for forgiveness and salvation, and he provided it. He told Moses to make a bronze snake, nail it to a pole, and lift it up in front of the people. Everyone who looked up to it was saved. In the same way, the One who had no sin became sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. The way we get healed from our “snakebite” is by lifting up our spiritual gaze, believing in him.

This is the glory of the Good News of Christ, but there’s a little sadness mixed in as well. It’s wonderful that all we have to do is look in faith to Christ in order to be saved, but at the same time it’s sad that so many people miss this. It’s so difficult to let go of our pride and self-righteousness in order to cling to him. Every instinct inside us is telling us It can’t be that simple! There has to be something more I can do. That’s why Buddhist monks are denying their bodily needs. That’s why Muslims are praying five times a day. That’s why every other religion in the world has things you need to do in order to get right with God. As someone told me a long time ago, all the religions of the world can be basically boiled down to Do. Faith in Christ says Done.

If you're reading this and are still holding on to your righteousness, then I just have one question: Why? The perfect Son of God died in your place. What more could you possibly add to that?

If you're a believer, if you have been redeemed, have you thanked your Savior for this lately? Do you show your gratitude in how you live? I know I don’t, not nearly enough.

Lord Jesus, with every word from my lips, with every thought in my mind, with every action of my body, I want to say “thank you.”

No comments:

Post a Comment