Tuesday, May 27, 2020
On Sunday, Pastor Josh will be preaching for our first Sunday back in the building for Worship. He will be starting our study of John 3 as we continue our way through the Gospel of John. In this week’s passage, we see an individual named Nicodemus come to Jesus for an after hours meeting.
John 3:1-2 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 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.”
The conversation Jesus has with Nicodemus is the first of four conversations he is going to have with a variety of people, all who need Jesus to look deep into their soul and correct some erroneous thinking. At the end of Chapter 2, John told us that Jesus was able to see into the hearts of people and know their thoughts, motives, and secrets. Yet, with eternal grace, Jesus reaches out to meet people’s needs.
So what might have been the specific issue of Nicodemus? From the context of the conversation, and the initial response of Jesus, we may conclude that Nicodemus was hung up on credentials. He was a man of credentials. A member of the ruling party of Israel called the Pharisees. His very first statement to Jesus is one based on credentials. He used his own religious credentials to determine that Jesus had come from God and that God was with Him.
But wait. His religious credentials were not sufficient to take him beyond the level of all the people spoken of in John 2. They believed because they saw the signs. Here was a spiritual ruler of the Jews, and his affirmation of Jesus was solely based on the things Jesus did. That is a serious problem. Does Nicodemus not remember the work of Satan in the religious rulers of Egypt as they imitated the signs of Moses? Signs are not the basis of faith.
I wonder how many of us still seek signs as the basis of our beliefs? I wonder how often we trust our religious credentials to affirm our conclusions about matters of faith? Is it possible that experience has kept us from knowing the deeper issues of faith? I think it is not only possible but probable. Jesus longs for intimacy of relationship to be based on faith alone, not faith plus signs. It is faith alone that saves.
Don’t be like the Pharisees. Don’t trust your religious credentials to tell you who Jesus is. Trust Jesus to tell you.