Read thru New Testament Devotional – May 10, 2017

May 10

 

John 3:1-21

John 3:1-13-Nicodemus, a member of the Sanhedrin, comes to Jesus at night...he says that God must be with Him, or otherwise He could not do the things that He does. Ryrie (3:1) says that Nicodemus “perfectly represents the aristocratic, well-intentioned but unenlightened Judaism of his day.”

 

For information on the Sanhedrin see:

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/Sanhedrin.html

http://www.gotquestions.org/Sanhedrin.html

http://christianity.about.com/od/glossary/a/Sanhedrin.htm

 

Nicodemus politely addresses Jesus and even compliments Him. But Jesus’ response is direct to the point.  He doesn’t allow the conversation to continue around the edges of courtesy and propriety, but goes straight to the heart of the issue.  He tells him that in order to see the kingdom of God, you must be born again.  Nicodemus assumes that He is speaking of physical birth and asks how a man can be physically born, again.  Jesus explains that He is speaking of a second birth, a birth of the Spirit...as the body gives birth, the Spirit gives birth.  The emphasis here is on the Spirit giving birth...more than on the spirit of man being born.  Jesus tells Nicodemus that while he may not be able to completely comprehend it all (just as he cannot explain where the wind comes from)...he can still accept it as true because of the evidence that it has happened (just as you see the evidence of the wind, even though you don't know where it came from).  Jesus encourages Nicodemus to not allow what he doesn’t know to become a hindrance to what he does know.  Instead, he should apply the knowledge about the physical realm, that he already has, into the spiritual realm.  Nicodemus is still struggling.  Jesus suggests that as a “teacher of Israel”, Nicodemus should be more spiritually minded and be aware of these things.  Jesus tells him that He knows these things...not because of earthly wisdom, but because of where He comes from, His Heavenly origins, He is descended from Heaven.

John 3:14-21-Jesus makes a reference to Moses lifting up the serpent in the wilderness (Numbers 21:8-9). In this incident, the people had become impatient with God because they were hungry and thirsty.  They complained “against God and Moses.” God sent His judgment for this sin (the lack of faith and trust in Him) and many of the people died.  When they cried out to God in repentance, He gave Moses directions to have the image of a serpent attached to a pole and raised up into the air.  When the people looked at the serpent it was evidence that they were trusting God to save them, as He had said He would.  Jesus explains to Nicodemus that He will be lifted up (a reference to the cross) and that those who believe in Him as being able to save them, will be saved...but those who do not believe in Him will be judged.  God sent Him into the world to save it...not to judge it.  People judge themselves by not believing in Him.  By not believing in Him...they are refusing the light that God has sent into the world.  Those who practice the truth will come to the light...and their lives will show evidence that they are from God.

Jesus is the light.  We don't come to know truth by pursuing it.  We know truth...seeing things from a Heavenly perspective...by relating to Jesus.  The more we know Him, the more the light of Heaven will shine in us and reveal truth to us.  Truth is a by-product of knowing Jesus.  Darkness is seeing things simply from a human, earthly perspective.  The closer you come to the light...the clearer you see the things around you.

Prayer: Father, sometimes it can be difficult to understand spiritual matters because my point of reference is so earthly, so worldly.  I try to put everything into perspective from how things are on earth, in this physical realm.  I ask that You give me Your perspective, a spiritual viewpoint.  Help me to see things as You do.  Let Your light shine in my life, Lord!  You are the light in my life, Lord!  Help me to know You.

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