One Step Closer

One Step Closer

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the season of Lent. Each weekday morning, we’re going to spend a few minutes in a passage in John. Here’s the goal: read it, pray it, share it. Every post will have a passage of Scripture, a short prayer, and a question to meditate on and talk about. In a few minutes every day, we can prepare our hearts for all that God has planned in this season of Lent.

Read: John 7:37-52
On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. [38] Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” [39] Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

[40] When they heard these words, some of the people said, “This really is the Prophet.” [41] Others said, “This is the Christ.” But some said, “Is the Christ to come from Galilee? [42] Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the offspring of David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?” [43] So there was a division among the people over him. [44] Some of them wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him.

[45] The officers then came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why did you not bring him?” [46] The officers answered, “No one ever spoke like this man!” [47] The Pharisees answered them, “Have you also been deceived? [48] Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him? [49] But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.” [50] Nicodemus, who had gone to him before, and who was one of them, said to them, [51] “Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?” [52] They replied, “Are you from Galilee too? Search and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.” (ESV)

“If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.” What a promise! Jesus didn’t just claim to have the best way to live, he claimed to have life itself. The people around were understandable skeptical. This is something God had promised long ago. Could Jesus be God himself? We find a similar promise toward the end of the book of Isaiah,

 “Come, everyone who thirsts,
      come to the waters;
      and he who has no money,
      come, buy and eat!
      Come, buy wine and milk
      without money and without price. (Is. 55:1)

God promises to fulfill all of our needs. Can he really do that through Jesus Christ? One person was willing to hear more. At this meeting of the Pharisees, we see a familiar face. Nicodemus is stepping out to make a meager defense of Jesus. He may not be a follower yet, but he’s willing to speak up for the law on his behalf. This is the second in a three-stage journey of coming to Christ. Is Nicodemus already thinking Jesus may be who he says he is? If there’s any chance, it’s worth hearing more. Don’t forget about the people who may be in this second stage. They’re not ready to commit, but they’re interested. Sometimes our role is just to help them take one step closer to knowing Jesus Christ. They may not know what they think, but they’re willing to come and see. 

God, give me eyes to see the work you’re doing in people who don’t know you yet. Help me to have the right words, ask the right questions, and listen for signs of your Spirit. Thank you for my story and the way you brought me to your son. Give me the boldness to share it. Amen.

How do we know Nicodemus spoke up at this meeting of the Pharisees? Who could have relayed this information to John?

Do you know anyone like Nicodemus? What’s something in this passage you could share with them?
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