John 3:1-21, 7:40-52, 19:38-42
I used to really enjoy the TV show C.S.I. when it first came out. It was so intriguing when they found all the evidence, pieced it together, interrogated suspects, and made an arrest all in sixty minutes including commercials. They really pulled you into the process to where you would identify with the victim and understand the reasoning behind the murder. I can hear the theme music as I type (Who are ya, who who…). You would get the full scope of everything that transpired up to the event and afterwards. There was no doubt of who did it by the time the credits were rolling.
Above, I have listed some passages of Scripture of another event. It was life altering and there was clear evidence of the event taking place. If you have some time, read the passages carefully. Hopefully, you will see the beauty of what Jesus does when people have a real encounter with Him.
In the text, we see a man named Nicodemus meeting with Jesus at night. Both his occupation and reason for coming are important. This man was a Pharisee, a teacher of the Law of Moses. He was a devout man with an impressive religious background with excellent standing in the community. This guy was impressive. He certainly would be a prime candidate for any church as a top prospect church member. He came to meet with Jesus at night for two reasons. First, it was because he didn’t want to lose face with the guys at work (other pharisees) for they had been at odds with Jesus at times. Secondly, I believe he knew something was missing in all his religiosity. I am sure he had heard Jesus teach and saw his impressive miracles. Nicodemus wanted to come close to Jesus to figure him out but didn’t want to get caught doing it. So he arranged a secret meeting.
Nicodemus knew something was different about Jesus. I am sure he had seen other men claim to be the Messiah, but Jesus carried himself in a different manner from those would-be Messiahs. Jesus began sharing with Nicodemus how he could be sure that he could enter the kingdom of God. Jesus had a way of speaking straight to the heart of someone’s most secret questions. Nicodemus must have been floored with Jesus’ talk of being reborn, because the underlying tone was that Nicodemus didn’t have what it took to enter in.
Let’s stop there just a minute to look at just how impressive Nicodemus would have been. This man was a teacher of the Law of Moses so he would have known the Scriptures better than just about anyone plus he would have acted very strictly according to the Law in front of everyone. He would have prayed several times a day in public as well as private (I don’t mean just blessing his food either). He probably had the first 5 books of the Bible memorized. I mean this guy had the look. Other people would have put him on a pedestal as being near perfect. Yet, there he sat before Jesus lost and heading straight to hell in all his goodness.
“You must be born again”
If you read the text, it is clear that Nicodemus, a teacher of the Law, had no clue what Jesus is talking about. But Jesus goes on to explain to him using a story of Moses. The people of Israel were saved from deadly snake bites when they looked at a brass snake that had been lifted up. They looked and lived. Jesus said He too would be lifted up and those who believe in Him would be saved. I believe in that moment although not documented Nicodemus would have understood the analogy and believed.
Jesus goes on to express the evidence of a true belief in Him. He talks about walking around in truth and light. Once you believe in Him, it will translate into walking unashamed before others. I find this ironic since this conversation happened at night. Jesus was not so subtly telling Nicodemus that if his belief was real and genuine, he would risk his position and persecution in the light.
The dialogue between Nicodemus and Jesus ended in verse 21 without really letting us know what Nicodemus decided to do. No prayer, no confession, nothing. But fortunately, he is mentioned twice later in the gospel of John to cue us into the evidence found about his eternal condition.
John 7 records the Pharisees wanted to arrest Jesus and had sent out officers to detain him, but they came back enamoured by Him and empty-handed. Nicodemus speaks up about questioning someone properly. Nicodemus was standing up for Jesus a little bit. He was beginning to walk in the light. Later in John 19, after Jesus had been crucified. Nicodemus was recorded to be with Joseph of Arimathea preparing Jesus’ body for burial. It is interesting because he didn’t just show up to help. He showed with 100 pounds of spices and perfumes to make the body ready. Let me tell you that it would be difficult to sneak that through town and not get noticed. Nicodemus no longer cared who saw him. His allegiance was to Jesus. He had been reborn and the evidence was packing large amounts of fragrance to the tomb of his Lord and Savior. We may not know when Nicodemus believed, but the evidence didn’t lie.
What about you? Does your life show evidence of your believe in Jesus for salvation? Are you walking in the light? Or are you ashamed to have any part of Jesus except for when it is socially acceptable? I am afraid that many people who call themselves Christians have the wrong belief and are convinced they are fine. They believe that being good saves you, that being a church member saves you, they believe that they don’t want to go to Hell saves you, or maybe they believe that because their parents or grandparents are believers they are saved. This is not true. It is only through Jesus can you enter into the kingdom of God. Paul says in Ephesians that “You are saved by grace through faith.” After you believe, there will be outward evidence of what transpired on the inside. You will be transformed, “A new creation.” If you believed but nothing has changed and there is no outside evidence, then you better stop right now to see what you believed in in the first place. Your soul is way to valuable to play around with.
Are you sure about your salvation experience with Jesus? Is there outward evidence? If not, I would love to talk with you so that know you will one day enter the kingdom of God. If you are sure, why not share your story with someone today. You never know the impact your story may have on someone’s life.
Grace and Peace to you as you walk in the light and truth.