JESUS, ARE YOU SURE?

JESUS, ARE YOU SURE?

Have you ever relayed a fact to someone and received the incredulous look of ‘are you sure’? You know the information is a verifiable fact. You know you got it from a reliable source. Yet, because it sounds just ‘too good to be true’, no one believes you. What does the world say about things that are ‘too good to be true’? That’s right,

‘If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.’

Now, Jesus had such a moment with Nicodemus as well.

““So you are a teacher of Israel,” said Jesus, “and you do not recognise such things? I assure you that we are talking about something we really know and we are witnessing to something we have actually observed, yet men like you will not accept our evidence. Yet if I have spoken to you about things which happen on this earth and you will not believe me, what chance is there that you will believe me if I tell you about what happens in Heaven?” John 3:10-12 [PHILLIPS]

Exasperated, wasn’t He? It was as if Nicodemus, through his words and body language was saying to Jesus, ‘are you sure’.

Now, let’s look at the conversation a little more closely and see why Nicodemus found Jesus’ words so difficult to understand.

“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 are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”
Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, 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? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”” John 3:1-4

Now, what was Nicodemus’ problem? He took Jesus literally. It was as if he never had any formal training in the Tora. He responded in a manner that you would expect from any one of Jesus’ fishermen disciples, unschooled. Yet, we remember that Nicodemus was not only a ruler of the Jews, he was also a Pharisee, a teacher of the law, a religious leader. So for him to respond in the way that he did was tantamount to a Michelin chef asking why cooking oil was needed for frying.

And that’s really when we ourselves would get exasperated, wouldn’t we? As teachers, we have no qualms repeating content and explaining concepts again and again during the introductory lecture. But when finals are a week away, we will get peeved if our students ask us to go through basic information all over again, as if they never studied, because, like Nicodemus, they should have known better.

I was having a conversation with a friend about Jesus and His gift of redemption. He was a pre-believer, so when, despite my varied attempts at analogously explaining our Father’s love for him, he still could not accept the truth about redemption because he could not understand how Jesus could be so selfless, it was not something unexpected, not something I could not accept.

However, things would be very different if we have been brought up on the teachings of Jesus’ love, provision and protection, wouldn’t it? If we have spent the vast majority of our lives going to church and singing praises to our Father and telling others about how good our God is, we should know better than to say to Jesus ‘are you sure’, right? Or are we just like Nicodemus?

Yes, some of the things we hear from Jesus do sound incredulous on the surface. But just like how the master in the parable of the talents gave to his servants according to their abilities,

“And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey.” Matthew 25:15

So too does Jesus reveal things to us according to our ability.

Jesus never said to His disciples that they should be born again, because they wouldn’t know what born again means. Neither did He tell the masses to go get born again, because they would, like Nicodemus, probably start finding ways to climb back into their mother’s womb; and think about the pandemonium that would cause. Instead, He tells them things that they can understand, things like,

“I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” John 6:35

“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” Matthew 6:26

“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” Matthew 6:28-29

“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” Matthew 7:11

So if our Father gives you revelation that you find too incredulous to accept, too good to be true, take a step back and consider it using the wealth of experience and the vast amount of wisdom that He has already blessed you with. Consider His revelation in the light of your abilities and measure it again to see if indeed what our Father says is too good to be true. For if we merely do as Nicodemus did and take things at face value, we would miss out on the great things that our Father has in store for us, not to mention insult the gifts that He has bestowed upon us. I mean, think about it, you really should know better.

You see, it’s a bit like this. If you have been staging Christian musicals pro-bono all your life, will you doubt His calling if Jesus asks you to start an events company that focuses on staging Christian musicals? Or if you have been preaching all your life, will you doubt His calling if Jesus asks you to start your own church?

Beloved, we often weigh our revelation based on the scales of the world. When we do this, we are essentially telling Jesus that we do not believe in what He has to say. And we really don’t want to do that because

“Any man who believes in him is not judged at all. It is the one who will not believe who stands already condemned, because he will not believe in the character of God’s only Son.” John 3:18 [PHILLIPS]

So since we have already believed that

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:16-17

Why shouldn’t we believe Him when Jesus reveals to us the wonders of His plans for us? Because it is too good to be true? Wouldn’t you expect that your all-powerful God bless you with things that are good beyond anything this world can ever imagine?

Indeed, for us who believe, for us who have put our trust in Jesus, we should know better. We have been blessed with so much wisdom and experienced His grace and love so many times. So beloved, don’t shy away from the wondrous revelations that Jesus is giving you. Don’t hide away from the magnificent plans that our Father has for you. Instead,

“…come to the light to make it plain that all he has done has been done through God.” John 3:21 [PHILLIPS]

And remember, when Jesus gives you a revelation for your life,

“…it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13

For indeed, it is not too good to be true, because

“…we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

So don’t say ‘are you sure’, say,

“Let it be to me according to your word.” Luke 1:38

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