Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Do You Have A Story or a Testimony?

Wednesday, April 12, 2023 

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. John 3:1-3

Do You Have A Story or a Testimony? 

This past Sunday, we heard the story of a man named Nicodemus. He was a very “religious” man, a Pharisee, and the member of the Sanhedrin. Pharisees were a group of Jews who were strict in keeping the letter of the Law and often opposed Jesus. Jesus often strongly denounced them for their legalism. Nicodemus was a leader, a ruler of the Jews, which means he was a part of the Sanhedrin, the equivalent of the Jewish Supreme Court who would have been very powerful and very well versed in Jewish doctrine.

Nicodemus saw the miracles Jesus was performing and heard the words He said and believed that He must be the Messiah. But because of the rules he had to follow as a pharisee and member of the Sanhedrin, he was afraid to admit that he believed this. He asked to meet with Jesus in the dark of night so no one would see them. 

Jesus met with Nicodemus and He told Nicodemus what he must do to be born again. This confused Nicodemus as he took it quite literally because they did not know what the term “born again” meant at that time. Jesus explained it, after telling him that as a leader of the Jews he should already know this. Nicodemus was a “religious” man. He had physically done everything he thought he could do to get into heaven, but now he realized that even though he was doing everything, there was something missing in his life. He knew that Jesus was that something. 

 Jesus told Nicodemus, For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believed in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16) This is one of the most well-known verses in the Bible that explains the salvation that we all can have in Him. Salvation and eternal life is a gift, we just must accept it. 

After Jesus was crucified, the Bible tells us that Nicodemus contributed 75 pounds of spices for preparing Jesus’ body for burial, and helped in wrapping His body and placing it in the tomb. The amount of spice he contributed was enough to bury a king, and this suggests that Nicodemus recognized Jesus as his King. 

Nicodemus realized that even though he lived a very religious life, he had a void in his life. He realized that he had a story – but not a testimony. A story is what you do for God – all the things – teaching classes, serving, Bible study, church every Sunday. A testimony is what God does in you – how he changes your heart. He comes into our hearts and transforms us. We can do all the things and never change. Doing all the things does not transform us. God transforms us when He saves us, and we walk with Him. 

We will not have a testimony until we are willing to let God do the work in our hearts. If we truly desire this change, we have to do our part by seeking Him and intentionally spending time with Him, and being willing to let go of what might keep us from having a true relationship with Him. He loves us and longs for us to know the abundant life He offers. 

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3:16-18

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