Leant Reading: John 3:1-17
Changing your mind can be a big deal. It gets harder as we get older. We now have long investments into study, experience, patterns of thought, relationships. An idea might be right, but what it asks of us can be too much.
This is the dilemma Nicodemus experiences as he meets with Jesus under the cover of night. He was a good, reasonable, man. This comes through his credentials. He was a Pharisee. This meant he was a lay person – not a priest. He chose to study his faith. He was religiously keen, committed, faithful. Moral in places where you didn’t know you had morals. Nicodemus was on the Ruling Council of Israel. He was a powerful figure, a representative of the establishment. Finally, he was a (v10) Teacher of Israel. This was a figure of some stature. Intellectually solid, academically respectable. And impossible to change. There was too much invested. Friendships, influence, relationships, family. While Nicodemus offers words to honour Jesus, has he come to with open ears and heart? Or has he come to change the mind of an impetuous zealot?
Before Nicodemus can state his case, Jesus calls him to change. Radically change. “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” (v3). Start again Nicodemus. Leave behind all you stand for. Come into the Kingdom of God, just like a baby, with nothing but what God gives you.
Think about it, this is a monstrous ask. But you can’t see the Kingdom, let alone enter the Kingdom until you are prepared to surrender everything before God. The Apostle Paul knew this:
“But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.”Phil 3:7-8
This is what is asked for whenever anyone follows Jesus. I suspect this is a major reason adults find it difficult to choose to follow Jesus. I wonder, are you still ready to make such massive changes when Jesus asks?