House Church Talk - seeing what's there

jim sutton goodword at
Fri Aug 13 10:28:33 EDT 2004

...a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews... came to 
Jesus by night and said to Him, "Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come 
from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him."

Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is 
born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."   (taken from John 3:1-3)

It's possible that when Nicodemus first approached Jesus, some of the 
Pharisees were actually considering recruiting Jesus.  I mean, the young man 
showed real potential.  Sure He was brash and crude.  And that back-country 
accent didn't help anything.

But He also appeared to have real power with God.  Simple logic showed them 
that much.  He might be trained in the proper ways to speak and act, the 
proper traditions and manners a young rabbi should uphold.  Jesus had 

And some fresh blood might be good for Judaism.  After all, Jesus was fast 
gaining popularity among the common folk.

Later, of course, they would change their minds.  No one who deliberately 
trampled the traditions of good men, and mocked those who stood against the 
Romans and Greeks, no one who showed such disrespect for good Jewish leaders 
who stood for the true God, no one like that could really be of God.  No, any 
power that Jesus had must come from the devil.  Simple logic argued as much.

But Nicodemus was never able to shake off that first impression.  The acts and 
words of Jesus seemed to get more and more under his skin.  Yes, this Jesus of 
Nazareth was one really strange fellow, but were not the ancient prophets also 
strange in the very same ways?

Such is the trouble with logic.

It tells us things -- based on our human reasoning -- about what we see and 
hear.  Yet for every answer it gives us, it raises many more questions.  Logic 
cannot fill in the gaps with truth.  Human beings need all the evidence and 
information, and they need revealed truth.  And even when we have all these 
things, we're still often left wondering...

Jesus, on the other hand, did not wonder about Nicodemus or his motives, or 
his questions, or the motives and questions of the other Pharisees and 
religious leaders in Judah.  Jesus already knew what was going on inside all 
of them.  He already knew who would believe, who would take their stand to 
fight against God, who would fail Him, who would recover, and even who would 
betray Him.

Jesus always saw what was really there.  He still does.

So when Nicodemus began talking, beating around the bush as it were, Jesus cut 
straight to the heart of the matter.  In so many words, He told Nicodemus that 
he and the others had no clue what God was up to.  Not only were they clueless 
about Jesus, they were also blind to the very kingdom of God itself.  They 
were not insiders, but outsiders and strangers to God's kingdom.

And He told the man why.  They were void of God's Spirit, and therefore void 
of God's insights and leadership.  There is no kingdom of God without God.

More than that, Jesus showed Nicodemus just how blind and ignorant of God and 
God's ways he was.  It might seem cruel and mean-spirited, the things Jesus 
said, and the way He said them -- asking Nicodemus how he could be the teacher 
of Israel and not even know the basics of spiritual life.  But there is no 
cruelty in exposing a deadly problem.  Nicodemus was in danger, and Jesus told 
him so.

Nicodemus, Pharisee and leader and teacher of Israel that he was, was in need 
of the life that only God's Holy Spirit can give.  He had come to Jesus -- for 
whatever reason -- and Jesus would not send the man away without exposing his 
need and pointing him to eternal life.

Logic may make us suspect the truth.  But God reveals truth with certainty. 
 Logic can argue that we may have a problem, a situation, a need.  But God's 
Holy Spirit reveals to us exactly what the problem is, what the solution is, 
and who it is that stands above all situations and circumstances -- namely, 
Jesus Christ Himself.

We may often think, because of who's doing the talking, that we know what is 
going to be said.  We expect certain ideas and thinking from certain people. 
 Nicodemus, no doubt, had some ideas about what Jesus might say to him that 
night.  But Jesus did not speak as he expected.

And Jesus was not misled by Nicodemus' attire or position or training or 
reputation.  The Lord did not say to Himself, "This man must be a teacher sent 
from God because he is, after all, a sincere Pharisee and a teacher in 

No, the Lord saw what was really there:  a sinner in need of spiritual reality 
with God.  Nicodemus came to him, robed in his own righteousness, as was the 
custom of Pharisees, but lacking the Presence and power of God in his life. 
 The man needed to be born again.  And Jesus told him as much.

In the end, of course, the Pharisees and all the people of Judah were able to 
extract from Jesus the fresh blood they needed.  In fact, all nations and 
peoples needed that fresh blood.  It was the blood that humanity had been 
needing and waiting for since the day Adam and Eve believed a lie.  And the 
Lord Jesus willingly shed His blood for the remission of our sin.

I've always suspected that Nicodemus was washed in that blood.  Logic tells me 
as much, from the few evidences we have in Scripture.

But one thing is certain to me.  I needed that blood to be shed for me.

I needed to be born again.  Logic never got around to telling me about that, 
but God's Spirit did reveal it to me one day.  And the Lord has confirmed that 
truth to my heart many times since.  He opened my eyes, one day, to the 
reality of sin and salvation, to the reality of hell and of God's own saving 

With God's gracious help, I was able to finally see what's really there -- 
there in my heart and life, there in the darkness of this old, dead world, and 
there in the nail pierced hands of a Savior who died for me.

Thank you, Jesus, for making me see what's there, and for changing everything, 
making everything new again.  Thank you for being there for me.


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