January 21, 2011

Seeing and Not Seeing

John 3:1-16

God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son …
John 3:16


You’re watching a baseball game on television. In the crowd someone holds up a sign that says “JOHN 3:16.” The sign holder may have good intentions, but this isn’t the same as proclaiming the greatest truth of all time, is it? For many people, that sign may be a point of ridicule. The crowd sees, but it doesn’t really see the point.

Nicodemus was mystified. His traditions and expectations made it difficult to grasp what the Rabbi was saying about being born again. Jesus was talking backwards, as far as Nicodemus was concerned. He saw God in Jesus’ miracles but did not see God’s intentions.

I need to relearn this lesson every time something I have goes missing. I tend to believe it magically vanished or that some mischievous person stole it to spoil my day. It’s amazing how my wife can make it reappear, often right in front of my own nose or where I left it. I see, but I don’t see.

Christ’s witnesses remember how difficult it is to “see” something new. Following our Master’s example, we make every effort to understand the people we are trying to reach. It’s part of loving them. We prepare ourselves to explain gospel truths without getting defensive or avoiding the tension that’s always part of learning. We respect a person’s need for time to process things. And we depend entirely on daily fillings of his Holy Spirit.

Father, we are entrusted with the truth about your love. To share it, we need your Spirit to move a mountain of misunderstandings and misgivings. Amen.

About the author — Norm Prenger

Rev. Norm Prenger is a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary. He pastored churches in Alberta and British Columbia before he was disabled by a heart attack and a post-operative stroke. He now lives with his wife, Gwen, near Thunder Bay, Ontario. He enjoys fishing, writing, drumming, and encouraging his fishing partners and neighbors to follow Jesus.

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