Truth forces us to choose…
We meet Nicodemus in John, chapter three. He’s impossible to forget. He’s a moral man, a prominent religious leader among the Jews. He holds a powerful place in his community as a member of the Pharisees and the Jewish ruling council.
In spite of his lofty religious position, he was drawn to Jesus. He had seen the miracles and heard the teaching. He had to find out for himself. Were the Pharisees correct? Was Jesus an imposter? Or was Jesus the real thing?
Late one night, after dark, Nicodemus discreetly visited Jesus. He had much to lose. Aligning himself with Jesus would cost him his powerful position in the community. More than that, a follower of Jesus faced a very real risk of losing his life as well as the lives of his family members. To talk to Jesus was to jeopardize everything. Still, Nicodemus had to know. He approached Jesus, saying, “Master, you must be a teacher sent by God.”
As usual, Jesus responded in an unexpected way. “Jesus answered, ‘Nicodemus, listen to this eternal truth: Before a person can perceive God’s kingdom realm, they must first experience a rebirth’” (John 3:3).
Jesus blew Nicodemus’s mind by saying he must be born again. What is born of flesh is fleshly. To be spiritually alive, we must be born again by the Spirit. The need to be saved, to be born again, to be reconciled to God through Jesus, is an eternal truth.
Because of the truth of salvation through Jesus, every person alive faces a choice. Will we risk everything we have to follow Jesus? Will we jeopardize our positions, our wealth, our very lives to be born of the Spirit?
In Mark, chapter 8, Jesus lays out what it means to follow him. He says if we truly want to follow him, we must dethrone ourselves and place him on the throne of our lives. We must continually surrender our will to him. Mark 8:36-37 says, “For what use is it to gain all the wealth and power of this world, with everything it could offer you, at the cost of your own life? What could be more valuable to you than your own soul?”
Nicodemus chose Jesus. We see Nicodemus again in John, chapter 19, taking Jesus’s body from the cross and preparing it for burial. Maybe we’ll get to shake his hand some day in heaven. He made a dangerous—but wise—choice.
The choice still faces each of us today. If we are wealthy and powerful, but lose our souls, what have we gained? What is more valuable to us than our souls? Are we willing to take the crown of lordship off our own heads and throw it at the feet of Jesus?
Missionary Jim Eliot said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” Choose to be born again. Choose eternal life. Choose Jesus.
Lord Jesus, sometimes it’s hard to lay down my own desires to follow you, but today I choose to totally surrender. I want to follow you. I want you to use me and my life as you see fit. Nothing is more important to me than my soul. Thank you for making a way for me to be born again. In your name I pray, amen.
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