1Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.”
…. and then Jesus procedes to tell him what is REALLY miraculous – being born again… and who he is. I always wondered why Jesus did that. Now that I am older (much) I realize that Jesus recognized this as a lead in. How many times do I miss talking about who Jesus is because I am not listening for the opportunity. Jesus was straight up.. He tells Nicodemus exactly who He is, what He came to do and in terms a Pharisee could understand. ( 14Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.) I don’t think any of the nuances of what Jesus said were lost on Nic (that’s what his friends called him, I think). I wonder though if he thought Jesus was purposefully messing with him (was He??) when he talked about good deeds are done in the light and evil in the dark, cause you don’t want people to know what you are doing…. And here was Nic, sneaking around at night AS IF seeing Jesus were evil. AND He really belabored the point as well.
(19This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”)
Talk about uncomfortable. I wonder if that got in the way? Sometimes truth is so hard to accept and we just shut down. I don’t ever want to shut down. Truth can be brutal. No one likes being exposed. I don’t. But it if the cost of not being exposed is eternity without God…. hmmm, well, I will take exposure.
It’s interesting how the beginning of the chapter is about a Ruler, sneaking in to talk to Jesus, not getting a lot of what Jesus said. And the last part is about a crazy guy boldly proclaiming God’s word and BEING a leader. He wasn’t trained or taught…He didn’t require one on one time with Jesus. He had a mission, he knew the truth and did his thing. (26They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—well, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.” 27To this John replied, “A man can receive only what is given him from heaven. 28You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Christ[j] but am sent ahead of him.’ 29The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. 30He must become greater; I must become less. )
That is what it is like to have people solidly on your team. You can count on them to do their job. They honor each other readily. They point to each other. (Jesus talks about John being great in the Kindom of God, he was sad when John was beheaded.) But John won’t take the glory, he just p0ints back to Jesus. That is how I feel working with the Yorkville Team. I know I can count on them. I can go about doing my job, because each of them will do the same. It’s cool to hang out, too. But we don’t get to as much as I like because many of us have other places of employment. So from time to time, our paths cross and we recognize what God is doing through that person and we keep doing what God wants us to do. It is so encouraging. I don’t know who else to explain it. I don’t feel like I am doing the whole thing justice.
SOOOOO… Important guy, Nic, is a sneaker, wants to know more about Jesus, but doesn’t want to be outed. Crazy-wierd nobody type guy, John, lives a life of reckless abandon, shouting the word of God to anyone who will listen. The first shall be last and the last shall be first. If you want to be great in God’s Kindom, learn to be a servant of all.
(but I am thankful I don’t have to wear camelhair and eat locusts…)
Prayer: God, help me live in a state of reckless abandonment for you. I don’t EVER want to be afraid of being identified with you. I don’t ever want to need the glory. I don’t ever want to miss honoring those I ‘labor’ with.
I don’t want to be a sneaky Christian.