Tag Archives: Israel

27. Jesus the Servant

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So the last time we left Jesus, the Pharisees were plotting to kill him because he had healed, once again, on the Sabbath. Because of this Jesus was quick to get out of Dodge. Not because he didn’t want to die, but because it wasn’t time for him to die yet. After he left he was followed by a large crowd and Jesus healed everyone who was ill. Not just some, the text actually says all. This account is also found in Mark but we will be reading the account found in Matthew because it includes a bit of Messianic prophesy that is worth checking out:

Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. A large crowd followed him, and he healed all who were ill. He warned them not to tell others about him. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:

“Here is my servant whom I have chosen,
the one I love, in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
and he will proclaim justice to the nations.

He will not quarrel or cry out;
no one will hear his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out,
till he has brought justice through to victory.
In his name the nations will put their hope.”

(Matthew 12:15-21)

I specifically want to look at the bit of prophesy that is given to us. It comes from Isaiah 42:1-4. This particular passage is about someone God calls, “my servant”. This title, “my servant” is a special title of honor that was used to describe the likes of Moses, Joshua and David. It was also used in Isaiah 42:1-9, 49:1-7;50:4-11; and 52:13-53:12. Now Israelites always assumed that they were the servant described but because of their wayward actions and blatant refusal to follow God and instead turn towards idols, they lost this honor of being God’s servants. Instead, these verses describe one person in whom God would find no fault- a perfect prototype of what a follower of God should look like. They are describing the Messiah, himself! The reason that Matthew, whose readership was mostly Jewish, often includes prophesy about the Messiah is to show them how Jesus is the 100% fulfillment of these prophesies. In other words, they didn’t have to keep looking for the promised Messiah because he was here as evidenced by their own Scriptures.

There are three times when Jesus is described by God as, “the one I love, in whom I delight.” The two other times occurred at Jesus’ baptism (Matthew 3:17) and at the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:5).

Here’s a little rabbit trail for us to go down. No where in the Bible does it explicitly say that God is triune, or 3-in-1. This is a concept that was presented by early church fathers. One of the verses they use to support this idea (which for the record, I believe in) is verse 18 from our passage today, ” I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations.” Here we see the Father conferring the Holy Spirit on the Son. 3-in-1. Three persons of God, in one deity; somehow each unique, yet joined together.

Verse 18, and also 21, is interesting because God is clearly concerned about “the nations”. He is concerned about all peoples, not just the nation of Israel. He came to them first because he wanted them to be his people of promise but because they rejected him time and time again, he opened salvation to the world. This was a foreign idea to the Jews even though it was right there in Scripture. It’s like they picked and chose which descriptions of the Messiah they liked and conveniently forgot about the parts they didn’t. God clearly cares for Gentiles, or non-Jews… which is very good news for me!

The next part, “He will not quarrel or cry out; no one will hear his voice in the streets,” refers to his silence during his trial before the crucifixion. Jesus remained silent despite his accusers and their false accusations, despite the fact that he could have said one word and thousands of angels would have been there in an instant to rescue him. He was silent except for a few answers to questions.

Verse 20 is one of great mercy and grace,

A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he has brought justice through to victory.”

One of the things the Pharisees never got was Jesus’ unending grace toward sinners. We can learn a lot from Jesus here. His job until he returns is to be gentle and love the sinner. I think here of the Westboro Baptist church. These people are not doing God’s work. God’s work, until Jesus returns, is to love on people. That doesn’t mean we overlook the sin. What Jesus did was look beyond the sin and saw the hurting person underneath. Hurting people are like a reed that is already bent from life’s windstorms or a candle struggling to stay lit. In mercy Jesus sat with these people, took the time to hear and really understand these people. And when I say “these people” what I really mean is you and me. “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). It doesn’t matter if we’ve wrongly gotten angry or if we’ve killed someone. We deserve a traitor’s death. We are no better or worse than anyone else and to assume otherwise is to fall into the trap of self-righteousness. Thank God, for his mercy and love! Thank God, for his patience with us! This is how he deals with us and this is how we are to deal with each other. Now there is a time when Jesus will come again and reign victorious over Satan and Evil. At that point it will be Jesus’ job to dole out justice to non-belivers and believers alike. It is never our job. It is never our responsibility to judge others. Period.

I’ll step down off my soap box for now. Until next time when we look at the commissioning of the the twelve apostles…

The End.

23. Jesus Casts Out a Demon

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So Jesus has just healed two blind guys and now we see him confront a demon who is possessing a man. The event is recorded in Matthew:

While they were going out, a man who was demon-possessed and could not talk was brought to Jesus. And when the demon was driven out, the man who had been mute spoke. The crowd was amazed and said, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.”

But the Pharisees said, “It is by the prince of demons that he drives out demons.” (Matthew 9:32-34)

This time it’s just three little verses but there is a lot going on here. Once again, we have a text that is fairly straightforward. There was a guy who was possessed by a demon and the demon wouldn’t allow him to speak. The man was brought to Jesus, he drove out the demon, and then the man could speak. The crowd was amazed but the Pharisees were angry. See? Straightforward… or is it? I think we need to discuss something here that few Americans are comfortable with- demon possession. Yes, my friends, it is real and I believe that it still occurs today, though we (especially the Western culture that we embrace) tend to ignore or deny it’s reality. I don’t claim to be an expert on demonology but I can tell you what I do know.

Satan and his demons are real. You don’t have to like it, you don’t have to feel comfortable discussing it, but you do need to recognize their existence. As surely as God and angels exist, Satan and demons exist. We know from reading in the Bible that there is some kind of hierarchy involved- there are demons that are in charge of other demons. There is even a chief demon, his name is Beelzebul (Matthew 12:24). We know that at least some have names, like Legion (Mark 5:9). We know that somehow they can possess a body. I don’t understand how this can happen or why it happens, I just know that it happens. And without going into too many details, I would venture to say that while I was working in the church, I met one or two people who were at the very least heavily influenced by demons if not possessed. They weren’t physically impaired like the mute from our story, but spiritually there was a darkness surrounding them. There was just something not quite right and they would go out of their way to stir up trouble and dissension- almost as if driven by some force.

I know all this probably makes most of you uncomfortable. It made the Pharisees uncomfortable too. They could no longer ignore the power of Jesus but instead of ascribing that power to God, they said that his power comes from Satan. There’s a big, BIG problem with that. You know that God forgives sins but did you know there is one sin that is unforgivable? “Whoever blasphemes the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin,” (Mark 3:23-29). Now what exactly does that mean and what does that have to do with the Pharisees? Let’s look at the context in which the verse is written:

And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.”

So Jesus called them over to him and began to speak to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house without first tying him up. Then he can plunder the strong man’s house. Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.” (Mark 3:22-29)

We see that the situation is the same. The teachers of the law were accusing Jesus of getting his power from Satan. Jesus refutes the Pharisees with sound reasoning and then we see the line about the unforgivable sin. So what does it mean to blaspheme against the Holy Spirit? It means giving Satan credit for that which the Holy Spirit does. That is bad news for the Pharisees. Very. Bad. News. For those that are guilty of this sin, we are lead to believe there is no hope for repentance. That may make some of you very uncomfortable- the idea that God won’t forgive this sin. But if you think about it, if you are to the point that you are denying the work of God and saying that Satan is doing good and casting out demons and healing the sick and raising the dead, then you are probably beyond help.

It may be a few days before I get the next post up. After two shorter passages, we are coming into a long one, 47 verses actually. It’s going to take a lot of prep work so don’t think I’ve forgotten about y’all. I’m just studying and reading up for our next journey together.

The End.

22. Jesus Heals Two Blind Men

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Today we will read a short passage. At first it may not seem very important but I think there is much we can learn. This passage is only found in Matthew-

As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, calling out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!”

When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”

“Yes, Lord,” they replied.

Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be done to you”; and their sight was restored. Jesus warned them sternly, “See that no one knows about this.” But they went out and spread the news about him all over that region. (Matthew 9:27-31)

First, let’s look at the text itself and then later we will discuss the implications of this section. Ok, the first major thing I want to look at is what the blind men call Jesus. They say, “Have mercy on us, Son of David,” (verse 27). That is a Messianic title. To understand it we have to go back to King David. He was promised long ago that 1. someone from his line would always sit as king over Israel and 2. the Messiah would come from his descendants. Every king of Israel was therefore a son of David, but only the Messiah would be the Son of David. He would be the greatest and final king to sit on David’s throne and he will rule not just for as long as he lived, but for eternity. His rule is perfect and just. That the two physically blind men used this title to refer to Jesus shows that they could spiritually see clearer than most people of their day.

So these two blind guys are following Jesus, crying out for mercy (which, like grace is an undeserved gift) and what does Jesus do? He goes inside. Now at first that seems harsh. But I think Jesus has two reasons for doing this. The first is because he wants to see the perseverance of the men and second I think is because they are identifying him as the Son of David, he doesn’t anyone to hear them. Jesus knows that if the general public got word of his Messiahship now, they would try to make him king of Israel by force. That wasn’t the plan though. The plan was for Jesus to die on the cross and even though that would be difficult, to say the least, Jesus was committed to doing God’s will. This is why in verse 30 he warns them not to tell anyone about what happened; he didn’t want the word that he was the Messiah to get out… yet.

That’s about it for the actual text. Short passage, short entry. But lets spend some time talking about how though the men’s eyes were blind, spiritually they could see perfectly. I can’t help but to think of a friend of mine. He is not a Christian. In fact, I would go so far as to say he is almost anti-Christian. His life is a mess and he knows it. He spends time seeking advice from Buddhism, Hinduism and just about any other -ism out there but he is still unhappy. I would even venture to say he is miserable most of the time. His marriage is falling apart, he drinks… a lot. He is lonely even in a crowd. Now, I don’t mean to beat up on the guy but I want you to understand the situation… Here is a guy that is running from the very thing that can save his very soul and is seeking for answers every where else. He is spiritually blind. The Bible has something to say about this, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God,” (2 Corinthians 4:4). Here is a man who has good physical eyesight but is spiritually blind. He is seeking but never finding. If only he would start to seek the one who could open his eyes! Yet, like I said he is anti-Christian and is angry at God, if there even is one (in his opinion).

He is just one of many people that are seeking but never finding because they are blind. I believe we are poised on a point of revival if only God would open the eyes of the masses. People are seeking. People want to know peace. They just need God to open their eyes and soften their hearts. Will you join me in praying for our nation? Will you join me in praying for the scales to fall from the eyes of America? Will you join me in praying for revival, for a movement of God’s Spirit?

Lord, we pray for another Great Awakening of our country. Please, please start opening eyes and softening hearts. Use us to start this change. Give us courage to speak and the right words to move people. Call us to repentance, to healing and to a closer relationship with you. In your great and powerful name, Amen!

19. To Fast or not to Fast… that is the question.

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We pick up in the same place we left off last time. Jesus is at Matthew’s house dining with sinners and tax collectors. The Pharisees have been standing around asking Jesus’ disciples why their teacher is hanging out with undesirable people. And now we have another group of people starting to ask questions. Let’s read:

Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?”

Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.

“No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” (Matthew 9:14-17)

We now have John the Baptizer’s students on the scene. We don’t know how long they had been there before they started to inquire of Jesus. They could’ve been there for the Pharisees’ questions or they could have just popped in. Either way, It may be helpful to back up and talk a little about John. John was Jesus’ slightly older cousin. He was born into a sacred mission- to prepare the hearts of Israel for the coming Messiah. He was an outspoken evangelist and would cry out to anyone who would listen to him. He was a bit of an eccentric character- he lived in the wilderness, wearing camel skin clothing and eating locusts. I imagine him to a very self-disciplined person and we know he fasted and spent a lot of time praying.  Now we see John’s disciples asking Jesus why he doesn’t fast too.

We don’t know why John’s disciples asked- were they genuinely interested or were they calling into question Jesus’ righteousness? In either case, that they were asking in the presence of the Pharisees would have fueled the Pharisees fire. I imagine them standing around disgruntled because Jesus just put them in their place when he says, “But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,'” (Matthew 9:13). Now they have a renewed spark in their eyes as they think, “Yes, why don’t you fast?” But why was fasting so important anyway? God ordained only one day that required fasting- Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement. The Pharisees, however, required fasting on Monday and Thursday every week. They said it was to commemorate the days that Moses went up and came down Mt. Sinai. In short, they made fasting a means to prove one’s righteous as opposed to a means to grow closer to God. While it is unclear if John’s disciples practiced this Monday/Thursday fasting, we can assume that they fasted regularly.

So they ask Jesus why he and his disciples don’t fast and he responds with a line about marriage. What is that all about? I’m glad you asked! In the Old Testament, the covenant of marriage is often used to describe the covenant between God and his people. God is the groom who promises to love, honor, and cherish Israel, the bride. Unfortunately along the way, Israel strays like an adulterous wife but instead of divorcing her, God is faithful to his part of the covenant even when Israel is not. There was correction and even punishment at times, but God always remained faithful to his covenants. This picture of marriage was well known to all the Jews so to them; Jesus is not making an abstract statement. He is referring to himself as God, the bridegroom!  We see Jesus referring to himself as the groom and the current time as the wedding feast, or a time of joy! And who fasts during a time of joy? Nobody! In fact the only day God requires fasting for, the Day of Atonement, is a day of sadness during which Israel is to remember her sins and make atonement for them. For the short time that Jesus is alive on earth, the people should be joyful that God is physically with them because there is coming a time when the “bridegroom will be taken from them” (Matthew 9:15) and then they should be sad and fast. As you may have guessed, Jesus is referring to his impending death here. The original word for the the verb “will be taken” has a violent connotation to it. I don’t know if Jesus knew at that point he was going to die on a cross but he at least had an idea that his death was going to be brutal.

Then Jesus seems to have another random thought as he jumps from weddings to clothes and wineskins. Jesus says that if you sew a new, unshrunk patch on an old piece of clothing, it will tear and make the hole bigger once the garment is washed. The old piece of clothing is the the law and Jesus is the patch. There were some holes in the Mosaic law- for example, you had to keep sacrificing when you sinned. There wasn’t a one time fix that covered any sin. Jesus was going to take care of that. In other words, the law served it’s purpose at the time, but now it needed to be interpreted through Jesus colored lenses. The old law needed to become a new garment so that when Jesus was sewed on, the patch and the garment would hold together, so to speak.

The wineskin metaphor is the same. Old wineskins became hard and brittle, but new wineskins were soft and supple. They needed to be because the new wine would ferment and cause expansion. If you but new wine into the hardened wineskins, they would burst and the wine would spill out everywhere. In both examples, Jesus gives, the message is the same, Jesus is making everything new. This doesn’t mean that the Old Testament is invalid or irrelevant- it means that it needs to be interpreted through Jesus, who was about mercy, grace, redemption and most of all love.

The End.

8. A Super Secret Midnight Meeting

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Ok, so I don’t know if it was at midnight but it was a super secret meeting; A night time theological rendezvous of sorts between Jesus and a Pharisee named Nicodemus. Let’s look at the text from John 3:1-21:

Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.

“You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,  that everyone who believesmay have eternal life in him.”

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

You may have already guessed it but this is where we get the term “born again Christian.” But what does that mean exactly? What is a Pharisee? Why did Nicodemus come by cover of night? We will explore these questions and possibly some more as we dive into the Word.

Let’s talk about Nicodemus for a minute. John says that Nicodemus was “a Pharisee…  a member of the Jewish ruling council,” (v.1). The Jewish ruling council was called the Sanhedrin. It was kinda like our Congress or Senate in that it was made up of a bunch of people, then men, that made laws. They also were in charge of enforcing laws and had their own police force. The Pharisees were kinda like a political party, like our Democrats and Republicans. The Pharisees were one of three or four (depending on how you qualify major) major parties of the day. The Pharisees were known for strictly keeping the laws of Moses and other oral traditions that were supposedly passed down from Moses. This is not a bad thing in and of itself. God, himself, demands that we adhere to the law but the Pharisees took it too far. They made ridiculous rules that made it almost impossible for the common person to follow. In fact the name Pharisee means “set apart” and that is what the Pharisees did. They set themselves apart from the common people by making it difficult for them to be “ceremonially clean” or righteous in God’s eyes. The put a “fence around the Torah” in that they set up laws meant to keep you from breaking God’s laws. For example, God’s word says not to work on the Sabbath. They Pharisees made a law that stated you couldn’t even touch something that could be used for work on the Sabbath. God’s law doesn’t say that and Jesus took issue with them because of it. Pharisees also had a problem with Jesus because he was showing them up with his knowledge of the Scripture and with his miracles. Instead of seeing him as the Son of God and embracing him as such, they viewed him as a threat.

Let’s get back to Nicodemus. He was a Pharisee but this passage suggests that he was genuinely curious about Jesus. Now if you notice Nicodemus came at night. Night time back then is different than the night time of today in that night time back then was pitch black- it was great for sneaking around in. There was no light pollution from the next street over that would have given a little light. The fact that Nicodemus comes at night brings up two points. 1- he was probably not willing to be publicly associated with Jesus and 2- his desire to know more about Jesus was greater than his fear of the dark. Remember, we are talking about pitch black conditions, there could have been wild animals out there or any kind of bad guy out there. Once the sun went down back then, most people stayed indoors because it was dangerous to venture out.

There are a couple things I find interesting about this story. First of these is that Nicodemus calls Jesus “Rabbi”, or teacher. This is a sign of respect and obviously Nicodemus sees Jesus a little differently then your run of the mill Pharisee. Second, Nicodemus acknowledges that the Pharisees recognize that Jesus is from God, even if they don’t believe that he is God yet they still conspire against him! What is that all about?!?  In a way I can sympathize with the Pharisees in that they were dealing with something brand new in Jesus. Never before had they experienced the Son of God. We often take for granted concepts that were new and innovative back then. On the other hand they had him in the flesh; they saw his life and his miracles and his teachings, they were eye witnesses and still didn’t get it. And yet that happens all the time these days. I would be willing to bet that many people are willing to agree that Jesus probably came from God but still don’t care about what he says.

Jesus tells Nicodemus that, “no one can see the kingdom of god unless they are born again,” (v. 3). Nicodemus is clearly confused, his mind is only focusing on what he knows, which is physical birth. He’s not thinking about a spiritual rebirth because, remember, this is a new concept to him. He doesn’t even know what spiritual rebirth is… yet. Jesus goes on to explain yes, there is only one physical birth. This is probably what he means when he says, “born of water,” referring to a woman’s water breaking before giving birth although it could mean baptism. I think it means the former though and he is showing a contrast between the two kinds of births. But there is also another kind of birth that happens when the Holy Spirit is born in your soul. This is what he is talking about when he says “born again.” We all have experienced the physical birth, but not everyone will experience the birth of the Holy Spirit. Only those who experience this second birth, “can enter the kingdom of God.”

Then Jesus gives a little lesson on why some people are reborn and some are not:

The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit. (v. 8)

I think Jesus is saying that the Holy Spirit already knows who will respond to the Gospel and that is who it enters. And though you can’t physically see the Holy Spirit, you can see the effects of the Spirt. These are evidenced in what are known as the Fruits of the Spirit. A Spirit filled person will be full of, “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control,” (Galatians 5:22-23). You can see the effects of these things. This is how you can “see” the Spirit.

Nicodemus still doesn’t understand and asks, “How can this be?”

I used to think that Jesus was angry when he replied to Nicodemus, but now I think there is pity and disappointment in his voice when he says, “You are Israel’s teacher and do you not understand these things?” Remember Nicodemus is a Pharisee; they were highly educated teachers of the law and yet they just don’t get it. Jesus goes on and says (in my own words), “You’ve seen and heard eye witness testimony to the miracles and teaching that my disciples and me are doing and yet you don’t believe it. If you can’t believe what you eyes have seen and your ears have heard, then how do you expect to believe the stuff you can’t see and hear with your own eyes and ears? Because you don’t believe what I have said, I will be hung up on a cross to die and everyone who believes that I died for their sins will have eternal life.” Now again, that is my own interpretation of what Jesus says to Nicodemus but I think it is pretty accurate.

Then Jesus goes into that famous verse that almost everyone knows; God loves people so much that he sent his one and only Son to earth, so that whoever believes in him won’t spend an eternity in hell, but will spend eternity in heaven with Jesus. God didn’t send Jesus to earth to send everyone to hell but to save everyone from hell. He did this because everyone who doesn’t believe in him is going to Hell without trying. This is the Good News, the Gospel of Jesus!

So what happened to Nicodemus? Well, we can assume that at some point he was reborn because after Jesus was killed, Nicodemus helped to bury the body of Jesus. This would’ve been a big deal to Nicodemus because it would have made him “ceremonially unclean” or unrighteous in the eyes of his fellow Pharisees. Remember, they prided themselves on being meticulous law keepers. We can assume then that at the very least Nicodemus was deeply moved by the teaching of Christ if not a believer at that point.

What does all this mean for us? I will admit that there have been times when I have come to Jesus undercover of night, afraid of what other people might say if they knew I was a Christian. What kind of faith is that? If I am being honest with myself it’s not a very good kind of faith. This is at best one step away from disowning Jesus of which Jesus has to say this, “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.” It is time to be bold for Jesus. You can do this without shoving Jesus down non-believers throats. It’s offering to pray (and then actually praying) for your friends and family. It’s being excited about the things you are doing that grow your faith and then telling people about it when they ask what you are up to. For example, when your neighbor asks how things are going, let them catch your excitement for Bible Study, participating in your church, etc. Why would they want to be involved in something that you yourself are not excited about. It’s being willing to share your faith stories when they happen. It’s being willing to say, “God healed my mom’s cancer” or “God took my mom home, and I will praise him anyway.” It’s praying for these people on a regular basis for an opportunity to share the Gospel, the Good News that Jesus loves them, that he died for them, that he rose again from the dead for them and that he want to forgive their sins and live forever with them. How will they hear if we don’t tell them? Isn’t that exactly what Jesus did for Nicodemus? All he did was tell him the truth the rest was up to Nicodemus.

Dear Jesus, Thank you for being willing to speak to us even when we come to you by cover of night. Thank you for your power to change lives. Thank you for dying for loving us even to the point of death on a cross. Help us to be brave, even when we are afraid, so that we can tell a world bound for hell about the eternal life you provide. I pray that you begin to soften the hearts of those we see everyday and start to prompt them to speak with us about their questions. Give us the answers to help them know you, Lord. In Jesus’ powerful name we pray, Amen!

P.S. Because this was a longer study today, I will give you a couple of days to digest before I post again. Look for me again on Tuesday,

The End.