John 3:19-21, NIV

19 "This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but
men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were
evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not
come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.
21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that
it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done
through God."
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December 15, 2010
This is the verdict, for Nicodemus and for us all. Nicodemus had
come to Jesus at night, in secret, under cover of darkness. It's a
lot easier to do questionable things when no one is watching. For
Nicodemus, it was the likely repercussions he and his family
would suffer from their peers if it were known that he might be
interested in befriending Jesus, who was something of an enemy
to those peers.

That which was judged to be good and proper among the crowd
with whom Nicodemus associated, Jesus termed evil. The
members of the religious governing council wore their religion
on their sleeves, not in their hearts. In the Synoptic Gospels,
Jesus called them white-washed sepulchers full of dead men's
bones! He said they washed the outside of their cups, but failed
to clean out the crud on the inside! They looked fine on the
outside, but under that splendid veneer they were dirtier than
the cheating tax collectors and the whoring prostitutes! And soon,
in John's gospel, we are about to find out they were plotting the
death of Jesus. In secret, of course.

The prophet Isaiah coined some very succinct words which
summed up the condition of the Pharisees who confronted the
dilemma of what to do about Jesus. They could be counted
among the blind and deaf who "called evil good, and good evil!"

According to Jesus, Nicodemus would need to make a break. In
order to live in the truth and light of God, he would have to come
out of the darkness and walk in the brightness of noonday. So that
all could see plainly that Nicodemus was a new creation, born
anew of the spirit of God.
It's one thing to profess righteousness,
mercy and justice for all. It's another 
matter to live it--openly,
honestly, wholeheartedly.

                                                                       More journal entries


July 31, 1982
We are judged by our choices, and are free to choose good or bad,
darkness or light. We see again that Jesus holds up just two
choices. And they are opposites. Didn't Jesus know that the
dominate color of our lives is gray?  And our favorite position is
to straddle the fence!
The more often I do something, the more
familiar and comfortable it 
becomes to me. The more often
I repeat a behavior, the more natural it 
seems and the more likely
I am to do it again.

Choosing light then could become natural, and darkness unnatural.
If darkness is more common than light, it seems more natural
only because that is what I'm accustomed to doing. 
I believe many
Christians are living in the middle where neither darkness 
nor light
is comfortable, and they live in a terrible struggle, wanting the 
benefits and pleasures of both worlds. I know; I have been there.

The life Jesus talked about means setting my face in the direction
of the light and taking a step and then more steps. Being drawn
to God is one thing, leaving all to follow him is entirely
something else.


November 22, 2001
God loved the world so much that God has given his only son
that whoever believes in him can have eternal life. God does
not want to condemn the world. God wants to save the world.
Nicodemus, the Jewish council, the poor homeless person, the
small business owner, the rich man on Wall Street. God loves all
of us and wants to save each one. But we must believe in order
to receive the life Jesus offers. We must live in the truth and
come into the light.

These are Jesus' final words to Nicodemus and it sounded
something like this:  Now, Nic, I'm going to tell you one more thing
and then I'm done. You have a choice to make. God has sent light
into the world. But men and women, including yourself, have
chosen darkness instead . You've been living with evil attitudes,
thoughts and deeds. But if you, Nicodemus, would stop deceiving
yourself, if you decide to step out of the darkness, then you will
discover the path God has prepared for you that will lead you
into God's kingdom of light.

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