John 3:1-21; 1 Chronicles 12; Zechariah 2
Imagine, if you will, death row in a prison. The condemned are without any real hope. Sure, there are appeals that might help them, but they don’t really believe that they will prevail. Then, sitting there in their cells, someone starts knocking on their cell doors. It’s a lawyer. He explains to each prisoner that he is there to offer a pardon from the governor. All that they need to do is walk out of the cell and be free. Some, willing to grasp at any straw, take the lawyer up on the offer and walk out. Others, “knowing” that the governor doesn’t work that way smell a trick and refuse. If they’re going to get out of jail it would have to be by an old fashioned prison riot – not some smooth talking lawyer. Perhaps that’s the picture Jesus had in mind when He was talking to Nicodemus. “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:17-18) We are sinners in a world of sin. We will be facing a perfect God. God sent Jesus to earth to bring forgiveness to those, like us, who are already condemned. We, as followers of Christ, don’t condemn people. Perhaps we are overzealous in pointing out that those who don’t follow Christ are already condemned at times, but our responsibility is to show people the pardon that comes from Christ. Some wait for their appeals in court or a final judgment hoping that when the Judge weighs all the evidence, they will be ok. Some have given up hope of forgiveness and restoration of the relationship with God. When God sent Jesus into the world He sent Him not to destroy hope. He sent Him to restore hope. Jesus didn’t come to sever relationships with God; He came to restore our relationship with God. Today, Jesus is knocking on the door of your cell. He offers you a choice. You can believe in Him and accept God’s pardon or you can refuse to believe in Him and hope that your appeal, which has never worked for anyone before, gains you freedom. In short, Jesus offers all of us the chance to have eternal life. Would you believe Him and enjoy this pardon or will you stubbornly refuse this gift that our God has offered? The choice is yours.
Father, I stand before You not as a condemned man, but as a forgiven man. It is only by Your grace that I can come to You. Thank You that Jesus paid the price for my sin. Help me be effective in helping others to receive Your pardon.