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Receiving the Gift (part 2)


The way we receive the gift of Jesus is belief. That was the very point of Nicodemus struggle. Lest we forget, John 3:16 is a verse situated in story that goes something like this…

“There was a man named Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader who was a Pharisee. After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus. ‘Rabbi,’ he said, ‘we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you’.” (John 3:1-2, NLT)

Nicodemus presented to Jesus an impressive resume of religious duty and devotion. He was a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin, an ancient equivalent to our modern day Supreme Court. He would have committed the Torah to memory (the first 5 books of the Law that we call Genesis, Exodus, Levitcus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy). He would have dutifully kept all 613 laws within Torah. He had done everything he knew to earn his way and pay his dues to gain the favor of God.

But he was still looking for more.

Rather than engage Nicodemus in a long theological discussion, Jesus cut to the quick. “I tell you the truth,” he replied. “Unless you are born again you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)

Born again? What sense does that make? In birth, the baby is a passive participant. The baby contributes nothing to the birth process. The mother does the work. The baby is along for the ride. In a nation where 75% of people believe that “God helps those who help themselves” can be found in the Bible, this kind of simplicity flies in the face of pride and self effort.

Belief is accepting something, not doing something. Authentic faith acknowledges that God is who he said he is, that he has done what he said he’d do, and that he will do what he promised to do.

Why is it so difficult to just believe?

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