Believing in Jesus isn’t simply about us

Rev. Raymond Maher

Yesterday, I asked Ed if there were some people he would like to meet in person and get to know more about them. My old neighbour often answers a question with a question. So he asked me, “Why? Who do you think I should meet?”

I said, “Well, since we are coming into the summer golfing season, maybe you would like to meet and pick the brains of a golfer like Danny Klughart, Mackenzie Hughes or Mike Weir?”

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Ed informed me that he would like to meet and play a round of golf with Danny Klughart, as he could learn something from Klughart’s skill, unlike playing a round of golf with me. I agreed with Ed.

I believe we all have people we would like to meet to understand them more fully and perhaps learn from them. The ideal situation is that when we meet someone, we have wanted to meet, they will be willing to meet us and get to know us. When we draw near to them, they must be willing to draw near to us.

In the third chapter of John, a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, came to Jesus to meet him in person. He wanted to understand how Jesus could do the miracles or signs Jesus was doing before the people.

Nicodemus saw Jesus as a teacher from God in that God had to be with Jesus for him to do the remarkable things he was doing. Nicodemus couldn’t understand what Jesus was saying to him when Jesus informed Nicodemus that he must be born again to see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus asked Jesus, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” (John 3:4)

Nicodemus was not ready or able to see beyond what was common sense to him. He was astonished that Jesus told him that he needed to be born again. Like Nicodemus, we often feel we should understand Jesus or God simply with our reason and intellect. We want to make God fit our understanding. Many of us resent others when they don’t want to let us be who we are but who they think we need to be.

Many, when Jesus was alive and today, are not ready or able to believe in Jesus because they insist Jesus become more or less than He says that He is as God’s Son. Jesus told Nicodemus that he had descended from heaven to do God’s will as the Son of Man. As Moses lifted up a bronze snake in the wilderness to save the dying people who looked to it, He (Jesus) would be lifted up that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

Nicodemus helped bury the body of Jesus in a tomb after Jesus’s death lifted up on the cross. For a time, Nicodemus could not understand Jesus, but he wanted to because he felt God was with Jesus. Nicodemus dared to draw near to Jesus when most Pharisees were opposing or rejecting Jesus. Jesus drew near to Nicodemus, enabling him to trust that whoever believes in Jesus will not perish but have eternal life.

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