Through Christ, God gives you a new life! He shows you His great love and a wonderful hope of glory. Give thanks to the Lord. See Psalm 136:1–9, it says, Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures for ever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever. To Him who alone does great wonders, His love endures forever. Who by His understanding made the heavens, His love endures forever. Who spread out the earth upon the waters, His love endures forever. Who made the great lights – His love endures forever. The sun to govern the day, His love endures forever. The moon and stars to govern the night; His love endures for ever. Read also verses 23–26, it says, to the One who remembered us in our low estate. His love endures forever. And freed us from our enemies. His love endures forever. And who gives food to every creature. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever.
Ruth gives gratitude in her own way – See Ruth 2:2, it says, and Ruth the Maobitess said to Naomi, let me go to the fields and pick up the left-over grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor. Naomi said to her, go ahead, my daughter. Then read verse 10, at this she bowed down with her face to the ground. She exclaimed, why have I found such favor in your eyes that you noticed me – a foreigner? David said in 2nd Samuel 9: 2–3, and 6–11, now there was a servant of Saul’s household named Ziba. They called him to appear before David, and the king said to him, are you Ziba? Your servant, he replied. The king asked, Is there no one still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show God’s kindness? When Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, came to David, he bowed down to pay him honor. David said, Mephibosheth! Your servant, he replied. Don’t be afraid, David said to him, for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table. Mephibosheth bowed down and said, what is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me? Then the king summoned Ziba, Saul’s servant, and said to him, I have given your master’s grandson everything that belonged to Saul and his family. You and your sons and your servants are to farm the land for him and bring in the crops, so that your master’s grandson may be provided for. And Mephibosheth, grandson of your master, will always eat at my table. ( Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.) Then Ziba said to the king, Your servant will do whatever my lord the king commands his servant to do. So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table like one of the king’s sons. See as well what Prophet Elisha said in 2nd Kings 4:8–17, One day Elisha went to Shunem. And a well-to-do woman was there, who urged him to stay for a meal. So whenever he came by, he stopped there to eat. She said to her husband, I know that this man who often comes our way is a holy man of God. Let’s make a small room on the roof and put in it a bed and a table, a chair and a lamp for him. Then he can stay there whenever he comes to us. One day when Elisha came, he went up to his room and lay down there. He said to his servant Gehazi, call the Shunammite. So he called her, and she stood before him. Elisha said to him, tell her, you have gone to all this trouble for us. Now what can be done for you? Can we speak on your behalf to the king or the commander of the army? She replied, I have a home among my own people. What can be done for her? Elisha asked. Gehazi said, well, she has no son and her husband is old. Then Elisha said, call her. So he called her, and he stood in the doorway. About this time next year, Elisha said, you will hold a son in your arms. No, my
lord, she objected. Don’t mislead your servant, O man of God! But the woman became pregnant, and the next year about that same time she gave birth to a son, just as Elisha had told her.
Today, God places before us a choice. If we choose to accept a new birth of water and spirit, we will live. If we reject it, we will remain in spiritual death.
Nicodemus, like most of us, may have difficulty understanding “grace” For people in his time-as now- think they become good through their own efforts. See Romans 9:31–32, Paul says, but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the «stumbling stone"
The Jews work hard to keep God’s law. They think their labors make them «righteous» and earn reward from God. Paul in the book of Romans, argues that such thinking is wrong. But Nicodemus, when Jesus first meet him, still thinks in the old Jewish way. Jesus warns against the deadly yeast of their religious teaching. See Matthew 16: 6 and 12, it says, becareful, Jesus said to them. Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Then they understood that He was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Read also Luke 16:13–15, it says, No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money. The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. He said to them. You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.
So Jesus offers no praise for Nicodemus’ good morals or high position. He closes the door on proud self-righteousness. Nicodemus must start from birth again!
Jesus opens a window for humble self-examination “You are Israel’s teacher, and do you not understand these things?” Then Jesus throws open a door to the full light of God’s love. God gives the richest Gift heaven can give. So be grateful and thankful. See John 3:16, it says, for God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
This is the very heart of grace. Yet many of us still struggle with it.
Too often we place ourselves in the center of our faith. We depend on our own wisdom, pride and effort, Jesus teaches us to move aside. For man-centered religion ends up rejecting God and crucifying His Son. Now point to Jesus as the central person. Jesus is the message called the «Gospel» or Good news. See what Apostle Paul says in 1st Corinthians 2:2, for I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. See also 1st Corinthians 15:2–4 , by this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.
God bless your understanding.
Pastor Peter Anifowose.