GENTRY “Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? Verily, verily, I say unto thee,We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.” John 3:9-13
The question of Nicodemus, “How can these things be?” is not uncommon today. How can it be that one must be born again to see God’s kingdom? How can a man be born of water and Spirit? How can God’s Spirit through baptism give a person new life with the assurance that his sins are washed away in Jesus’ blood and that God forgives and accepts him as His own dear child?
Nicodemus was a teacher of God’s people and did not grasp these truths. And, if we are honest, these things are beyond our own reason and understanding as well.
Yet, Jesus was testifying to the truth - to things known and seen by Him! Jesus, as well as His disciples, had seen the mighty working of God’s Spirit in those coming to Him confessing their sins and being baptized in Jesus’ name (cf. John 4:1ff.; Mark 1:4ff.). These were born again of water and Spirit - God’s Spirit had given them new life through faith in God’s Son, their Messiah and Savior! And, like the wind, the effects of the Spirit’s working could be seen even by those who could not see the Spirit.
Nicodemus, up to that point, had not received this witness to the truth.
He and the rest of the Pharisees and experts in God’s law had rejected God’s counsel for them by not confessing their sinfulness and being baptized of John (the Baptist). It was the tax collectors and known sinners who accepted God’s counsel and were baptized. They came away with God’s forgiveness, with new life and with a place in God’s eternal kingdom!
Jesus asked Nicodemus, “If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.”
If we are unwilling to believe in God’s workings here on earth, how will we believe God’s testimony concerning those things going on in the heavenly realms? What if He were to tell us the details of the spiritual warfare going on behind what is visible to our eyes? When just a part of the struggle was revealed to Daniel, even he could not understand these things.
What if He were to reveal to us the glories of God’s throne? It is far beyond our grasp. Would we believe this if we are unwilling to believe that God can regenerate us and make us alive to Him through the waters of baptism?
Jesus points out that none of us have ascended into heaven to see these things but the One who came down from heaven, the Son of Man who is in heaven. Here is another truth beyond mankind’s limited understanding. In Jesus, God the Son took on human flesh and blood and dwelt among us, a true man. Yet, at the very same time He dwelt among us, Jesus was also in heaven filling and ruling over all things.
Our minds cannot grasp how Jesus could or can be present everywhere - how He can rule over and fill all things? But this is what He has told us. Jesus, even when he lived among mankind on earth was in heaven. And Jesus, even when in heaven, is still present with us here in this world - He said, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20).
Dear Lord Jesus, grant me faith to receive Your witness and trust that You have, by Your innocent sufferings and death upon the cross, paid in full for all my sins, and that through the “washing of water by the word” You have made Your pardon and forgiveness my own and given me a place in Your everlasting kingdom. Amen.
[Devotion by The Still Small Voice, Gentry, Ark., Scripture quotations from the King James version of the Bible]
Obituaries, Pages 7 on 11/04/2009
Print Headline: WEEKLY DEVOTION How Can These Things Be?