Crosspoint Church | Georgetown, TX

The Importance of…a PHARISEE

Daily Devotions based on the Sermon Series: “Timely Teaching for Turbulent Times”
Week 1 of 6: “The Importance of One!”

THIS WEEK: You…A Tax Collector…A ‘Sinner’…A Pharisee…A Teacher

It’s no wonder he went at night.  There was no way a Pharisee could be seen siding with Jesus…or even taking an honest interest in what he had to say.

Yet Nicodemus was curious.  What he saw and heard in Jesus was not adding up to what the rest of his Pharisee buddies were saying.  They were convinced Jesus was the pawn of Satan and the ruin of Jewish rule and law.

Yet Nicodemus noticed something different:

John 3:1-6 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

The evidence was not that Jesus was a tool of Satan, but that what he was doing indicated that he was from God.  Nicodemus was starting to see the truth about Jesus.  Jesus wanted him to see the whole truth.

3 In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”

4 “How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!”

5 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.

Jesus concern was for Nicodemus to see clearly the kingdom of God and what it meant to be part of it.  For many Pharisees the kingdom of God was an earthly establishment that would surpass the greatness of Israel under the leadership of King David and Solomon.  Yet Jesus was not proposing to kick out the Romans or proclaim himself an earthly king.

His kingdom was not of this world, but the reign of the good news that he was the Messiah sent, not to deliver Israel from the oppression of Rome, but to deliver them from the oppression of sin.

He wanted Nicodemus to get this.

The most well known verse in the Bible was given to Nicodemus first.  “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” (John 3:16)  Life in God’s kingdom was a gift of faith, not earned by the effort of ones works.

Nicodemus came in private the first time.  But publically he later was willing to carry the body of Jesus from the cross to Joseph’s tomb.  The Spirit had given birth to a faith that trusted in Jesus and the work he did.  Nicodemus now saw the kingdom of God…and he was part of it.

The same work the Spirit did on Nicodemus, he does on you.  We all have a little Pharisee that wants to rely on our own effort to gain God’s favor.  We all have a little Pharisee that would love to see God’s kingdom manifest itself on this earth.  Yet, Jesus had this conversation with Nicodemus so we could all hear the same thing.  He opens our eyes to see we are part of the kingdom of God, one that surpasses the kingdoms of this world, and lasts forever.  He turns us from trust in our own righteousness to believe in God’s one and only Son.

For that (and being given John 3:16!) we can be forever grateful that Jesus took the time to find the lost Pharisee.

Apply: With an election coming up, are you trusting more in a political leader to bring God’s kingdom on this earth instead of praying for God to make his kingdom more real in your life? 

Prayer: Father, forgive me for relying on my own effort to earn your favor.  Redirect my heart and life to enjoy life in your kingdom, as a forgiven child of God whom you have connected to grace by the work of your Spirit. Amen

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