Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tuesday: Snares, a Secret, and the Spirit

Nicodemus was worried.  Something didn't set well inside.  His fellow Pharisees were trying to figure out a way to trick Jesus, using His own words.  They had asked Jesus about paying taxes, and He slipped under their snare and declared that a person should give to the Emperor what is his, and give to God what is His.

They then tried to trump Him up by asking about the law.  One scholar asked Jesus what the most important commandment was.  Jesus replied, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind.  The next is to love your neighbor as yourself.  All the Law of Moses and the Book of the Prophets are based on these two commandments."  After a time, they were ready to give up.  He was too wise for them.  It was as if He knew what they were thinking....

Nicodemus had a feeling that his comrades were all wrong.  Something was very different about this man.  He seemed to know so much about God...more than any other mortal man.  He had to find out the answers to his questions...but how?  It was dangerous for him to ask Jesus these things during the day.  One did not want the Pharisees to be angry with them...even if they were a Pharisee themselves.  He had to figure out another way.

Late that night, Nicodemus crept to the area where Jesus and his disciples were camped out.  He sat next to Him and began to talk to Him.

 "Jesus, we know that you have come from God.  No one could do the things you do, and not be."
Jesus replied, "This is true!  I'm telling you that no one can see the Kingdom of God unless he is born again."

This was confusing.  If a man was old, how can he physically be born again?  Nicodemus asked Jesus about this.  Jesus said, "You don't understand.  When a human baby is born, it is just that...a baby, that you can see and touch.  When someone is reborn, it is a matter of their spirit.  It's like the wind...that blows wherever it wants to.  You take shape from within...by something you can't see or touch.  It is the wind of God...the Spirit of God.

Nicodemus didn't understand.  "What do you mean?  How does it happen?"

Jesus smiled.  "You are a respected teacher of the law, and you don't know these things?"  He looked Nicodemus straight in the eyes and said, "I'm only telling you these things because I have seen them...and I know them firsthand.  You should know better!  Instead of accepting My words, you procrastinate and ask more questions!  If you won't accept the plain words I tell you about things of this earth...how can you ever accept the things that I tell you about heaven?  No one has ever gone into the presence of God, except for the One who came down from that Presence...the Son of Man.  Just like Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, the Son of Man must be lifted up. The ones who look up to Him and trust Him...they will gain a real life, eternal life."

Then Jesus told Nicodemus, "God loved the world so much that He gave up His only Son, that whoever looks up to Him and puts their trust in Him will never totally die and gain that eternal life.
The problem with the world is, that God has sent a Light into the world, but people don't like it.  They would rather run into the darkness, because if they went into the Light, they would see their flaws and disobedience.  It's easier to remain unaware.  They hate the Light.  But those that are trying to live in truth and reality, love the Light and welcome it and want others to know that it is God actually doing the works through them.

Nicodemus began to feel a stirring inside his heart.  This man Jesus was different.  How could he get the other Pharisees to see?  Would they ever see?

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