By Kelly Carr
This week we begin a four-part series looking at four different people (or groups of people) Jesus encountered. Each Scripture text comes from the book of John. As I have discovered before in this job as editor, when I read what our authors create, I gain new perspective on familiar stories.
For instance, how easily do you rattle off John 3:16? It’s the first verse many of us memorized as kids; we’ve heard it so many times by now it may have lost meaning. But let’s take time this week to look at the entire John 3 scenario anew:
A Pharisee, a member of a group who openly debated and ridiculed a new rabbi in town, sensed there was more to Jesus than mere teacher. Possibly fearing for his reputation, Nicodemus crept out into the night to seek an audience with this man of God. Jesus spoke salvific words about newness and life and a redemption no one could yet fathom; he called Nicodemus into the light.
Isn’t this story indicative of us all? We’re there in the dark, can’t sleep, thinking too much about the unknown, grappling with our current situation. There’s got to be more that we haven’t figured out yet. We come up with a plan to seek out the truth, perhaps a little bit on the sly to protect our reputation. We must know—is this Jesus everything he claims to be? Or is he another dead end, false hope masquerading, mere disappointment?
Yet when we encounter Jesus, he opens his heart and pours into our own. His words hold power, and they never fail. Through time, through testing, through mountains and valleys, he remains consistent.
He brings us into the light.
There’s all kinds of darkness we can wander into, wallow in, and weep through in fear and loneliness. But we don’t have to stay there. We have one who offers hope, who offers salvation, who offers to shine a light, illuminating all that keeps us isolated.
Go ahead. Take a step. Live by his truth and come into the light (John 3:21).