Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
It seems every culture, every family and every person observes some kind of traditions. In my family we had assigned seating for eating at the table. I do not remember any conflicts or fights over where we sat. It was assumed that this was where we sat without questioning why or how this started.
Traditions can start out OK but end up being lifeless activities.
In John 3:1-17, Jesus has an encounter with a man who is a religious traditionalist by the name of Nicodemus. In this encounter, Jesus demonstrates great patience with Nicodemus that empowers Nicodemus to find eternal life and rise above the entrapment of religious tradition.
Nicodemus, being afraid to be seen with Jesus, shows up late in the evening. This is the same Jesus who would later say: "For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:38)
However, Jesus agrees to meet Nicodemus in private. Jesus, the ever-sensitive minister, recognizes where Nicodemus is in his journey and welcomes conversation in private which leads to an awakening in Nicodemus.
The conversation leads to a discussion about the very thing Nicodemus needed … to be born again. Wait … Nicodemus has been born as a "son of Abraham," he has been raised to believe in the God of Abraham and to believe in the Scriptures that existed.
Nicodemus is a highly educated person in Judaism. He is a teacher and ruler of his people. But all these things have worked against him. The traditions he has fought for and defended has not led him to real life; they have become lifeless legalism.
Nicodemus' story does not end here. In John 7, we find Nicodemus defending Jesus in front of his peers. In John 9:38-42, Nicodemus accompanies Joseph of Arimathea in taking the body of Jesus to prepare His body for burial.
Wow … I would say Nicodemus has been born again!
It is not enough to say we believe in God. The devil believes in God also. (James 2:19)
Religious tradition does not save us. We all need the new birth that Jesus taught about in John Chapter 3. It is as easy as agreeing with what God says about us, we have all sinned. (Romans 3:23)
Turning to the solution, "the free gift of God is eternal life in Jesus." (Romans 6:23) Inviting Jesus to be the Lord of our hearts. (Romans 10:9-10)
The gospel is good news. It is all about Jesus.