Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Step Two

Gospel John 3:16-21 

Jesus said to Nicodemus:

‘Yes, God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost
but may have eternal life.
For God sent his Son into the world
not to condemn the world,
but so that through him the world might be saved.
No one who believes in him will be condemned;
but whoever refuses to believe is condemned already,
because he has refused to believe in the name of God’s only Son.
On these grounds is sentence pronounced:
that though the light has come into the world
men have shown they prefer darkness to the light
because their deeds were evil.
And indeed, everybody who does wrong
hates the light and avoids it,
for fear his actions should be exposed;
but the man who lives by the truth comes out into the light,
so that it may be plainly seen that what he does is done in God.’

Step 2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity

The trouble with certainty is you can never really be sure.

Nicodemus should have been sure; a Pharisee in the Sanhedrin; he will have had the certainty of the Law wrapped around him; it will have informed every moment of every day of his life. He will have stood on the Temple steps; watching the poor and the infirm; knowing that this was their due - payment for the sins of their ancestors. He will have seen his own place in the world increase with obedience to the Law, to the Sabbath, to the Temple. The image of God ever before his eyes... and then...Jesus.

An itinerant preacher from Nazareth breaking every rule that Nicodemus has lived by and doing it in God's name; spending his time with sinners and criminals, healing, forgiving, loving. Asking him to do the same; to allow his image of God to crack and to crumble.

He must have felt that he was going out of his mind - out of his mindset of certainty and assurance.
An option would have been to deny what his heart was telling him; to retreat further into the Temple shadows. But the questions would have remained; his old image of God would no longer have all the answers.

As a Pharisee, Nicodemus could have called Jesus to him to explain himself; could have challenged him in the courtyard; but instead he goes to Jesus in secret and under cover of night and finds himself speaking with Jesus as a pupil to a master. He discovers a power greater than he has ever dreamed; a power that will save the whole world.

Sometimes the greatest handicap to God's grace is the limitation that we create. The idea that God follows certain rules serves to defend us when we say we cannot be healed. God hasn't got time for me;   I am not worthy... That  there are others more deserving translates as a stubborn and senseless denial -    "I don't need God".

Until you know you do - you are hiding in the dark with your eyes closed.



Jade said...

"Sometimes the greatest handicap to God's grace is the limitation that we create. The idea that God follows certain rules serves to defend us when we say we cannot be healed."
~Very true!

How necessary it is to not cling to little laws... the greatest one is to love.

Word in the Hand said...

The only one is to love. thanks Jade m+x

claire said...

Nicodemus getting out of his 'mindset.' What a lovely expression, Word! This is what I need to allow the Word to do to me: to get me out of my mindset. So hard, really. How can I be sure it does that very job?

Thank you and blessings.