Nic at Night . . . . .
No, I didn’t mean Nick or Nickelodeon at Night. I’m talking about Nicodemus, the member of the Jewish ruling council who came to Jesus secretly at night and dialogued with him about what it meant to be “born again.” (John 3). Jesus explained in verses 13-14 that “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert (Num. 21:4-9) so the Son of Man must be lifted up that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life.” Here Jesus was beginning to illuminate Nicodemus with two facts: That Jesus would be somehow “lifted up” and that the purpose and result of this “lifting” would be the salvation of those who trusted in the purpose of this future act.
From here Jesus goes on to explain his incarnation even further, and he does so by the familiar words recorded in John 3:16, the “bite-sized” gospel.We observe through John’s gospel that Jesus’ words took root. Nicodemus subjected himself to severe criticism by the Pharisees when he urged them in John 7 to inquire of Jesus before condemning him without a hearing. We see later in Chapter 19 that Jesus had indeed touched Nicodemus’s life to some degree as he came with Joseph of Arimathea, a secret follower of Jesus, and brought spices to prepare Jesus’ body for burial. Jesus had earlier spoken to Nicodemus of the mysterious work of the Spirit, and here we see living proof of a life being transformed by the presence of Jesus.
What of your life? I believe it is a fair statement to say where there is genuine new birth you always see the results, undeniable results. “So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8)The new birth signals more than a profession of faith; it signals transforming power. Have you seen signs of this in your life? Do others close to you know a different you from your BC (Before Christ) days? Certainly it is only God who sees through our heart to determine whether our claim to him is real and more than just a prayer of some sort. What is true is that where there is new birth, genuinely coming from God, we will experience and witness transformation. No-one truly born again can be the same after receiving Jesus and having His Spirit begin a work within.
There will be a change in life. Certainly this doesn’t mean that people suddenly reach perfection or no longer sin. Christian growth is sprinkled with and even strengthened by Christian “failures.” There is a change of direction. A process of cleansing. New birth signals a marvelous adventure with each life individually paced by our Creator. This life is vital and as long as we press in towards Jesus he will maintain our momentum, no matter what obstacles are permitted into our pathway.
Wouldn’t it have been pure delight to know this intellect, this teacher Nicodemus and to observe how he overcame the oppressive Pharisaic pressures to find his life in Jesus? Christian, there are people surrounding your life who are watching you with critical eyes to see if and how this“Jesus thing” is working for you. Those closest are observing whether the words you speak are equal to the life they see you live. Fellow Christians need your Spirit-led life as an encouragement to them to press on themselves, no matter what comes their way. Non-Christians may just be downright critical, waiting to discover the chink in your armor, waiting to see you slip and see if or how you recover. Do you see it as a privilege to wear the clothes of righteousness of our Lord, and to represent him to a lost world? Perfection is not where we need to place our focus, it is transformation. Seeking God and asking him to do as he wills with our lives as long as we have breath.
I am certain Nicodemus turned a lot of heads as his boldness grew with news of the risen Christ. He came out of the closet with his new faith. We have that same news. Let’s turn some heads towards Jesus and do it in broad daylight. There are more people looking for hope than we realize, even if they can’t quite put their needs into words. We have the word of life. We have the life! Think About It.