Guest Blogger: The Rev. Scot Ocke, Maumee United Methodist Church
“Darkness – Loving Words – Light”
John 3:1-17 – Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. (2) He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.” (3) Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” (4) “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”
(5) Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. (6) Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. (7) You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ (8) The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.
(9) “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked. (10) “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? (11) Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. (12) I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?
(13) No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven–the Son of Man. (14) Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, (15) that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” (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. (17) For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
I can’t remember, but I’m sure the womb is dark. Loving words of birth parents beckon the unborn to come out into the light. Nicodemus lived in the dark; maybe afraid of being criticized for wanting to know more about Jesus, the Light of the World. But loving words from Jesus drew Nicodemus out of the dark.
“No one can see the Kingdom of God unless you are born again.” He came and received a new view of God and of life. God looked on Nicodemus not for what he was, but like a proud parent looks upon their new born child – a perfect creation seen with perfect love.
In the beginning Nicodemus goes to Jesus at night. He wanted to know Him, but most likely did not want the criticism and ostracism of others. But at Jesus’ crucifixion he boldly comes; in the middle of the day, in front of Pharisees and Roman guards; words of love have beckoned him.
He is there as Jesus dies and helps take Him off the Cross, provides burial spices, and helps prepare Jesus’ body for burial (John 19:39). Nicodemus now walks in the light and is remembered forever for his transformation from fear to faith and courage.
Where are you? As the sun rises over Lakeside this week, pray you will hear the loving words of God beckoning you to boldly, courageously, and faithfully follow Jesus, the Light of the World.