Monday, July 21, 2008

Words of Encouragement

Many things are done in the "dark" under the veil of night. That is because individuals are trying to be hidden so that no one will see what they are doing. Yet, there is nothing hidden from God.

Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. He 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." In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again - John 3:1-3

Nicodemus. Coming in the Night. In this chapter of John we are told a short story about a man named Nicodemus. His story is so short that you may think, what is the reason for even telling it? If you have read the Bible often or if it were your first time picking it up, you will understand no telling of an event is meaningless.

The scripture starts off giving us the detail of Nicodemus' station in life. He is a Pharisee. The Pharisees were a group that were extremely influential in Jesus' day. Their views were based on the Old Testament and their own oral traditions, both of which were considered equally authoritative. He was also one on the ruling counsel of the Jew's.

The Pharisees at this time were hostile toward Jesus because they felt he was lax with respect to their laws, was too accepting of sinful people, and was open to contact with Gentiles. The also believed he made blasphemous claims about himself and his relationship to God. Jesus on his part opposed them because of their legalism, their hypocrisy, and their unwillingness to accept the kingdom of God as represented by him.

So this is who comes to Jesus at night, one of the pharisees. The question is, why did he come at night? Why didn't he come in the morning when Jesus was in the midst of his teaching and talking to individuals? Why come at night? Could he have come at night so as not to be seen? Maybe he did not want to be seen by the others that were rejecting Jesus.

While he is not bold in his coming to seek Jesus, it is important to note he came. When he comes he makes a statement, we know you are a teacher from God because of the works that follow you.

Jesus does not waste time doing a verbal dance with him, he gets right to the point, he tells Nicodemus, you have to be born again in order to see kingdom of God.

What has just happened is this. Nicodemus has come at night because he is intrigued with what he sees Jesus doing, but he is still in the "dark" about who Jesus really is. We know Jesus knew this based on his answer to Nicodemus.

What can we learn from this? There are those that are intrigued by the things of God but are not yet willing to step out in the day and openly seek God. So instead them come in the dark, in the night when no one else will see them. Yet, Jesus still waits for them. Jesus did not leave because the work of the morning was done, he waited for his appointment with Nicodemus. God is waiting for us as well. He is waiting for us even if the work of the day seems over, it never ends for God.

I pray for us today, Lord if there is someone that is not yet openly coming to find your answers, help them find them nonetheless. Help them find an encounter with you so that they will be able to come openly to worship you.