Sometimes we won’t know ’til later…
I want to know NOW. I want to know FOR SURE.
But sometimes the answers we’re waiting and looking for are found through the eyes of another and we will only find out by their account.
I’m referring, of course, to the sweet time I will be spending this morning with the woman I met on the street. The woman who is dying. The woman I so desperately want to know Jesus, the One who wants to welcome her to eternity.
There has been much praying and pondering. But this morning, I felt compelled to look at another encounter with Jesus. One with a man named Nicodemus.
Nicodemus was a religious leader, but didn’t know Jesus. He’d heard about Him, of course, His miracles and teaching, but still had questions. So he came to him late at night, so as not to be seen by the other members of the Jewish council.
Without going into all of the details of the story, Jesus cuts right to the chase, knowing all of Nicodemus’ questions before they are even asked. “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”
This phrase of being “born again”, of course, breeds more questions and conversation. And this is the passage that holds the verse that so many of us have known since we were toddlers. John 3:16 – 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.
This familiar verse is then followed by this one – For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Jesus was sharing with Nicodemus the answer to all of his questions. Jesus WAS the answer.
By the end of the story, we are left not knowing what Nicodemus’ response was. Did he accept what Jesus said? Did he believe and begin a relationship with Him?
I found myself frustrated and nearly crying when I came to the end of the chapter and didn’t know. I wanted to KNOW. I wanted to know that Nicodemus accepted Jesus and was going to spend eternity with Him.
But then it occurred to me. This ISN’T the last that we hear about Nicodemus. With renewed anticipation, I turned to John 19. Jesus had just been crucified. Had just finished uttering the words “It is finished”, declaring that He had just completed what He came to do.
And there are two men at the scene who linger after Jesus is declared dead. Joseph of Arimathea and our friend Nicodemus! Joseph is a man who had followed Jesus at a distance because he feared the judgment of others. And Nicodemus who had just recently had the midnight conversation with Jesus. A timid believer and a seeker, together asking for the body of Jesus so that they could bury Him. An act that showed that now neither one of them was ashamed to be associated with Jesus.
I can only imagine the conversation and tears that happened between these men. The profound plunge of faith deep into their souls through that experience. The aha! moments of all that Jesus had talked about and done and how it all was making sense now. The recollections of Jesus’ wisdom and tender ways toward them. His brilliant stories told through unparalleled word pictures.
There is no way that Nicodemus could walk away from such an experience without being a true believer. THIS was the answer I was waiting to find! That he DID get it! That he DID finally understand who Jesus was and accepted what He offered and that he couldn’t stay away!
The beautiful bonus, the lovely ribbon on the package of this treat was the meaning of Nicodemus’ name – “victory of the people”! Nicodemus was placing Jesus’ body in a place where “victory of the people” would take place three days later when He would rise from the grave!
I love that so so much!!!!
Today I get to watch an encounter of a woman meeting Jesus. He WILL be there. She WILL see Him in one way or another. She WILL hear His voice.
And though I may not be the one to receive the privilege of seeing her accept His indescribable gift, I can rest in the knowledge that an encounter with Jesus, as with Nicodemus, cannot leave you unchanged and at least asking questions, wanting more conversation.
And I will trust that Jesus will provide every question she has with Himself…
Please pray with me and let’s be amazed together…