God Knows…When I’m Faced with a Choice – Part 2
When Jesus commanded, “Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!” the merchants and moneychangers and priests fled. The priests sensed power in Christ’s words and some at first believed He might be the Messiah. But they were embarrassed about fleeing from a carpenter of Nazareth. Also, they hated to admit they cheated the people who came to the Temple. They were jealous of the attention Jesus was getting from the people.
Instead of repenting, they made a bad choice. They vowed to get even with Him (Jesus knew their anger and forecast: “Destroy this Temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” He was talking about His death that they were already planning).
A Night Person
One of the Jewish rulers named Nicodemus made a different choice. He had heard Jesus and wanted to learn more. So Nicodemus met with Jesus at night for a private talk. There in the moonlight, they talked together about the Kingdom of God.
Nicodemus started off by saying that everyone was impressed with the miracles Jesus was doing (He healed many sick, blind, and crippled people). So Jesus told him about the best miracle of all: “unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Jesus was referring to what happens when we love God and allow Him into our lives. The change is so great that it’s like being born all over again.
Nicodemus was surprised at Jesus’ words. “How can a man be born when he is old?” asked Nicodemus.
Jesus told him, “Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” Water is the symbol of cleansing. When we love Jesus with all our heart, the sins of the past are forgiven and forgotten. The Spirit is the symbol of power, the power of God that enables us to do what we could never do by ourselves.
Jesus continued: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” By nature, we get into trouble. No matter how hard we try! We make lousy choices. We often fall down. Sometimes we feel down. But God’s Spirit has power to change us.
Can you see the wind? Do you know where it comes from? Do you know where it stops? Jesus said to Nicodemus, “You can hear the wind rustling the leaves and flowers. Yet the wind is invisible. It’s the same with the Spirit of God.” You may not know how God’s Spirit works, but you can see the results in your life. We use things every day without knowing how they work—perhaps the TV, a microwave, electricity. In the same way, when we “plug in” to the power of the Spirit of God in our hearts, results will be seen.
As Nicodemus listened to Jesus explain the new birth and life, he wanted to experience it. But how? Jesus answered his silent question: “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”
What is Faith?
Jesus was reminding Nicodemus of a story from history. Many years earlier, poisonous snakes had overrun the area where the Israelites were camped. People were dying right and left. God instructed their leader, Moses, to put a brass serpent on a pole. Every snakebite victim who looked at it got better. The people could not heal themselves. The brass snake could not heal them. But when they looked at it, they showed their belief in the Word of God.
So every person can look to Jesus, believing that He can heal the disease of sin. This belief is like an open hand reaching out to take the gift of forgiveness for the past and power for a new life ahead. Later on, when Jesus was lifted up on the cross, Nicodemus remembered what Jesus had told him. And he believed.
Jesus also told Nicodemus what God is like. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” God sent His Son to this earth because He loved the people on our planet. God is the Father who is doing everything possible to bring His runaway children back home to happiness. God loves the world—not just the good people, not just those who love Him—but the whole world, including the unlovable, the loner who has no one else to love him, the person who never thinks of Him.
His love is for YOU. Believe this. Let His love draw you to Him. This is the way to be born again. Then your thoughts and desires will change. Your choices will no longer be such a problem. You will want to do God’s will. You will let Him help you with your choices.
God loves you so much He won’t force you to believe Him or to love Him. That choice is yours.
Where to find the story: John 1-3
Your Story Hour
PO Box 15
Berrien Springs, MI 49103