Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Cocky Rooster

Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, "Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him." Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." Nicodemus *said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born, can he?" Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. "Do not be amazed that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' John 3:1-7
The cocky rooster rubbed his eyes and stretched his wings. He grumbled a bit as he swung his legs over the edge of the nest.  While drinking his morning coffee, he scolded his wife for not having his comb pressed and ready to wear.  With a glance at the clock, he straightened his feathers and pranced out of the house and across the yard to the fence.  He was well aware of the handsome figure he cut as he walked with his chest held high.  "What a heavy responsibility is mine," he thought, "having to crow so the sun can rise." 

His best friends wouldn't tell him.  Perhaps his best friends did not know.  But it was not his crowing that made the sun rise, but the sunrise that caused him to crow.  If he only knew, he wouldn't have so much to crow about.  There were times when he wondered about his power, but it seemed from his perspective that it was working.  Besides, all the others around him had such respect for his crowing he couldn’t stop. 

Jesus met some who were exactly like that rooster.  They were called Pharisees and thought that upright and respectable living brought a right relationship with the Lord.  It was hard for them to take when Jesus pointed out that a right relationship was the cause and not the result of good morals.  They wanted a religion they could measure in themselves and others.  They had great pride in their form of religion as they paraded it before others.

There are still many of these people around today.  They do not carry the label of being a Pharisee for the very term today is a negative characteristic.  But they parade their religious service and righteousness as badges of distinction for all to see.  They find great pride in their righteousness and compare badges with others.  Cock-a-doodle-do! 

"You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also. "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. Matthew 23:26-27

A wise and good man came to see Jesus one night.  But he was not wise enough, nor would he ever be good enough to deserve the salvation of which Jesus spoke.  Jesus knew He was talking to a ruler of the Jews, a Pharisee.  He was one who was trusting in his ability to perform the secondary aspects of religion for righteousness.  It was the same old story of the sun and the rooster.  Jesus said to Nicodemus, "You must be born again."  In other words, “You need a new heart, not better morals.”  We don't know, but we trust that the good and wise man understood.  We hope that he learned that his crowing would not make the sun rise.

O Righteous and Holy God,
Help us to understand what you meant when you said you desired a broken and contrite heart over all of our other sacrifices.  Thank you for the blood of your Son which covers our sin!  In Jesus’ name, Amen

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