Suggested Reading: John 3:1-21
That you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.—I Peter 2:9
Nicodemus was not only a Pharisee but a member of the Jewish ruling council. Their take on Jesus was he must have been a prophet, whom they thought were rare and were no longer among them, but they were not convinced Jesus was anyone other than that. Because of the miracles he performed they paid close attention to him. Nicodemus was thinking and feeling otherwise. He felt Jesus could possibly be the One sent by God, so he approached Jesus during a time no one would see or learn of his visit to ask him about the meaning of being “born again”. By the end of the conversation Nicodemus had a lot to think about, a lot to consider. What was he to do with his beliefs? How would believing on Christ jeopardize his political standings and associations; since secrecy of faith was not an option and believing in Christ you were either all-in or not at all. Could he handle the pressure that would come if he came out of the dark and moved into the light of public faith in Christ?
It was because of their lukewarm devotion that Christ sent a message to the church in Laodicea stating, “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would you were rather cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth” (Rev. 3:15-16). Imagine being rejected, your very name like a curse word, and spit out of the mouth of Jesus because your faith, devotion and works were lukewarm?
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind (Matt. 22:37); be all the way hot for me; be on fire with your devotion, the Lord commands. Christ can demand full devotion because he paid a great price in order to be all-in for us. He did not put one foot in the world and the other dabbling in God’s mission. He was God-Man but he was never torn between fulfilling the desires of his Father in heaven and pleasing people. And he knows that very often we inwardly conflicted as we feel devotion for him in our heart but not ready to live it outwardly.
Oswald Chambers said the person who has faith can be tolerated by those who do not and even those who do as long as things do not change. But the person who not only has faith but full devotion to Christ is another matter. The flack and pushback does not come when we love Jesus secretly or just on Sunday it is when our love for Christ turns into devotion and devotion to and for him results in living by new standards and making choices.
Peter said God has not only chosen us to be part of a royal priesthood and holy nation, for his own possession, but that we be those who proclaim the excellence of him who called us out of darkness—into the light of faith. The same darkness Jesus was calling Nicodemus out of; calling him to rebirth, is that same rebirth and fullness of faith he is calling us into. Christ calls us to come out of the shadows and off the sidelines, to reject the comfort of being part of the world, popular with people, and holding onto secret faith and being fully devoted in our heart that results in proclaiming the excellence of Jesus; becoming those who are no longer lukewarm, but hot and on fire for Christ. Life lived in this manner will have many losses, but never any regrets. There will be losses but the losses will never measure up to the gains we experience on earth nor in heaven. Let’s Pray,
Dear God, you have called us out of darkness into the marvelous light where we can proclaim the excellence of Christ. May we be able to live our faith boldly, courageously and without the least bit of hesitancy. Whatever we lose by devoting ourselves to Christ we know you will more than make up to us in heaven and even during our time on earth. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen