Seeing God in the Small Things

(Today’s post by James Rooks)
John 2:23 – 3:21
Today’s passage between John 2:23 and John 3:21 is hard to narrow down into one or two points for a blog post.  In fact, the whole book of John is like that.  The dialogue here between Jesus and Nicodemus has enough meat to keep Biblical scholars busy for days writing their commentaries.   What I’d like to do is to hone in on a couple of passages and attempt to offer some thoughts.
In the early exchange between Nicodemus and Jesus, we find that Nicodemus came at night and that he was a ruler of the Jews. He was prominent among the Jewish scholars and had great influence.  The fact the he came at night has led to numerous speculation: was he afraid to be seen with Jesus in public?  Was he just wanting to make sure he came during a time when he could have one on one time with Jesus?  We don’t know exactly, but the following exchange is pretty interesting.  Nicodemus then points out that Jesus must have come from God and that no man can do the miracles that Jesus had done.  Pretty straightforward, right?  But then Jesus’ response doesn’t appear to be a direct response to Nicodemus’ statement. John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”  Jesus’ response is a good indicator of the motive behind Nicodemus’ visit and opening line to Jesus.   In the Jewish teaching and culture of the day, there were those that believed when God sent His anointed One, He would be coming to establish the earthly Jewish Kingdom promised from the line of David.   Is it possible that after having seen the miracles, Nicodemus wrongly assumed that the kingdom had come, and he wanted to be one of the first in line to help usher that in?
If this is the case, you can see how Jesus’ responses would have thrown him for a loop.  You can also see the tact and wisdom in how Jesus would often cut to the heart of the matter.  Instead of asking leading questions, He jumped right to what was at the heart of Nicodemus’ visit … reading between the lines: “You’re here to talk about the kingdom I’m setting up, right?  Well, unless you’re born again, you won’t see the kingdom.”
The exchanges continue throughout the next few verses, and then we hit 11 & 12 where Jesus says: “we speak of what we know and testify of what we have seen, and you do not accept our testimony.  If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?”
They had been talking about being born again and being born of the spirit.  I have to think at some point, Nicodemus might’ve been a little overwhelmed…maybe at some point thinking, “I’m in way over my head here.”   But how true is this even today?  God shows Himself in the everyday aspects of our life, and the world doesn’t acknowledge Him.  Look at all the complexity in nature and in the intricate way that our bodies were designed… all earthy things, and yet people refuse to believe.   There are those who challenge God, as if He has to prove Himself to us.  Pull back to verse 12 again for a moment now …”If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?”

I have to think that the beauty and majesty we see in God’s creation, in the things that He shows us everyday, pales in comparison to the beauty and majesty of Heaven.  Jesus’ point is clear here, and it is echoed by Paul in Romans 1.   If you don’t believe what God is trying to show you in the small things, how will you believe what He tries to show you when it is something much bigger?

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