18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
Even though his encounter with Jesus appears to be brief in John’s recounting, the impact of that conversation on the life of Nicodemus from that point forward cannot be understated. Anybody who has had a life-altering experience with Jesus must surely know that is true – once we have encountered Him we cannot go back to life without Him.
Nicodemus approached Jesus face-to-face as a Pharisee, a member of the Sanhedrin, a wealthy, educated man who was living a comfortable life. While I certainly don’t fit that description, how different am I compared to Nicodemus? We are all molded and shaped by where we live, our background, our lifestyle choices, and our social status. But when we approach the Lord, do we take all of that with us, or do we simply take our hearts?
Fortunately Jesus sees right through all of it. He saw right through Nicodemus, and he sees right through me. He doesn’t care about who we are in any worldly sense. He only cares about our heart and whether we believe in Him. For those of us who do believe in Him, we are free from judgment. We are free because God’s light came into the darkness of our lives because he loves us.
Just as Nicodemus and his life found a place in God’s redeeming plan, so can we. Once we encounter Jesus we begin to realize we are not defined by what we wear or which neighborhood we live in. We are defined by the simple fact that we belong to Jesus. We belong to the creator of the known universe. Once we cease to define ourselves by what the world would have us believe is important, people will start to see what we really hold dearly. They will begin to see that we are God’s chosen people and that we personify His characteristics.
- What do you take with you to the throne of God? Do you take your material life, or do you take your heart?
- How do other people see you? Do they see only your material life, or do they see that your heart is connected with God?