Believing

Jesus led Nicodemus far beyond the land of logic to the land of faith—of believing.
In this realm, all things were possible. The rules of nature, the proclivities of creation, were just starting points for whatever God wanted to do. The power of God was at work when people simply believed in the Words of God. Nicodemus knew this, of course. He knew the stories of miracles he had heard since his childhood—the Red Sea splitting like a sliced apple, the thundering heights of Mt Sinai and the stone tablets of the Law, the water from the rock and the bitter waters healed by a felled tree, the Manna in the Wilderness and the quails flying just chest-high, the River Jordan rolling up to one side, the walls of Jericho, and the conquest of Canaan—all stories now becoming believable to him for the first time.

The New Birth
He could see the logic of it. He would not blame Jehovah for giving up on the reformation of Israel. Their sad history was one of revival and apostasy in shameful repetition despite godly prophets and kings. The faithless ones always seemed to prevail in less than a generation. Surely the problem was within the hearts of the people. If those hearts could be changed, restored to righteousness, then all of the nation could be saved. No power on earth could stand against Israel. Was this man Jesus, the One predicted? His news of a Spirit from God, perhaps God Himself, who could repair the sinful heart, cleanse the sin-stained mind, and heal the broken spirit must be the answer.

Jesus continued to teach this good man.

“…God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world through Him might be saved.”

Believing—How Does One Believe?
Was it too much to hope for? He and a few of the other leaders had the best of intentions. There was nowhere else to turn. The pagans all around them certainly had no answers. The Romans were wise to let the nations they have their religions; nothing changed in the hearts of people. Perhaps what was need was a new creation—a new birth. Could merely believing be that powerful?

“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

Believing meant believing in Him—in Jesus! He was saying there were no other options. Jesus was not to be listened to and filed away with the other prophets. He was more than prophet—He was the Son of God—and He was to be believed.

The Light Has Come into the World.
It was simple, really. The Light had come into the world and to turn away from Him was to embrace the darkness. The unavoidable result of this was condemnation. When men love darkness rather than Light, the tragedy of human existence continues. Evil is the result and evildoers hate the light.

Those who believe—expressed by words and deeds—are those of the Light. They are those of this new birth.

Scriptures:
John 3:16-21

For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

Prayer:
Lord Jesus these thoughts, so new to Nicodemus, amaze me as well. You are the Light. Some people embrace You, happy to escape the darkness. Others are counting on the darkness to hide their evil deeds and true natures. The entrance of Your Word gives Light. May I always have Your Word on my lips. May my footsteps every day bring light to the world. In Your Name, Lord Jesus!

Song:
The Light of the World Is Jesus

Words and Music: Philip Bliss;

1. The whole world was lost in the darkness of sin,
The Light of the world is Jesus!
Like sunshine at noonday, His glory shone in;
The Light of the world is Jesus!

Refrain:
Come to the light, ’tis shining for thee;
Sweetly the light has dawned upon me;
Once I was blind, but now I can see:
The Light of the world is Jesus!

2. No darkness have we who in Jesus abide;
The Light of the world is Jesus!
We walk in the light when we follow our Guide!
The Light of the world is Jesus!

Refrain

3. Ye dwellers in darkness with sin-blinded eyes,
The Light of the world is Jesus!
Go, wash at His bidding, and light will arise;
The Light of the world is Jesus!

Refrain

4. No need of the sunlight in Heaven we’re told;
The Light of the world is Jesus!
The Lamb is the Light in the city of gold,
The Light of the world is Jesus!

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

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