The Things of Heaven
John 3:9 Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?”
John 3:10 Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?
John 3:11 ¶ “Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony.
John 3:12 If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things?
John 3:13 No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.
John 3:14 And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
John 3:15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
John 3:16 ¶ “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
Nicodemus was a good man who had spent much of his life studying the law. He knew the scriptures from childhood and was a leader within the religious community. However, when he was confronted with the Messiah he was unsure and really did not understand. Jesus was amazed that Nicodemus had been able to see miracles and hear about what had been happening in his ministry and yet did not have faith to believe. His education, along with the witness of Jesus’ activity should have helped him to understand who he was. That’s why Jesus wondered about his ability to understand the things of heaven.
It is then that he describes what will happen to him and how Nicodemus may come to be born again.
Nicodemus would need to move from the things of earth to the things of heaven, accepting the mysteries of God.
We struggle with accepting the mysteries of God — the things of heaven. Many of us find ourselves in the very place of Nicodemus. We can know the things of this earth (or think we do) and have them point us toward God, and yet fail to see him.
This week I had the privilege of hearing Francis Chan preach and he spoke specifically to those who were engaged in ministry. He is a passionate man who is deeply in love with the Lord. He told of another passionate Christ-follower who came and visited a mega-church pastor in the United States. Afterward he commented on the ministry that the man had — that it was a nice ministry, but ended by saying, “but it’s too bad that he’s not in love with God.”
What an indictment. The things of the world can be all around us — things that ought to be pointing us to God and yet we can be like Nicodemus, or today’s religious leader, who can’t see the things of heaven. The things of heaven are far more important than anything that this world has to offer. Falling in love with the Lord ought to be our first priority in life — getting to know God on a deeply intimate level. Nothing else matters!
When our hearts are driven by our love and passion for our Savior then the things of heaven will become more visible to us. That is when we will begin to understand the mysteries of the Lord — including what it means to be born again, adopted into God’s family. The power of God transforms us into his children, filling us with his nature and we become the holy people of God. These are the things of heaven!
Lord, please move us from the things of this world to the things of heaven. Amen.