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January 23 | John 3:1-21


DAILY READING


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REFLECTION


Turn on the Lights!

by Elaine Pierce


This is probably one of the most well-known and well-loved passages in scripture, particularly verse 16. I bet we could all recite it from memory. Sometimes, I find familiar passages the hardest to read. What new truth can I learn today from words I have read many times? Let's ask God to help us read these 21 verses with fresh eyes.


I was struck by something I hadn't paid much attention to before. Nicodemus, who was a respected member of the Jewish ruling council, obviously had heard about this new Rabbi. So he joined the crowds and asked him questions, right? No.....he came to him at night (3:1). Why do you suppose he did that? Perhaps he was afraid of what his fellow Jewish rulers would think of him? Perhaps he was afraid of judgment? I think it is safe to assume that he didn't want to be seen with Jesus, so he approached him under cover of darkness.


As a respected Jewish religious leader, Nicodemus would have known the Torah and the old prophets well. And yet, he has completely missed the point that the scriptures pointed to Jesus, and that he was the only way to eternal life. (take a look at verses 10-13).


Remember that Jesus and Nicodemus were having this conversation at night. I don't think it's any accident that Jesus talks about darkness and light as they end their discussion:


This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

(John 3:19-21 NIV)


Nicodemus shows up two more times in the Bible. In John 7, he defends Jesus' right to speak in his own defense. And in John 19, he and Joseph of Arimathea take Jesus' body from the cross and see to a proper burial. It is unclear whether or not Nicodemus has become a believer, but he has certainly continued to follow Jesus' ministry, not just at nighttime. Perhaps there has been growth and change in his heart.


Where are you in your walk with Jesus? Are you cowering in the darkness, afraid to be seen with Jesus, and yet wanting to know more of him? Are you afraid of what others might think of you if they know you follow Jesus? Jesus stands at the door and invites you out of the darkness into the light. Come and join him. All is prepared for you.


 

Dear Jesus, so often I want to do things my way, and I am comfortable in the darkness. I confess my sins and my need for you. You have conquered sin, and you are welcoming me into the light. Thank you for the privilege of following you in light and truth. Amen.




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