When we’re staying in the presence of God, we should be able to affect the people we’re around us.
John 3:1-2 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.
Nicodemus was a ruler of the Jews and a Pharisee of the Sanhedrin counsel (70 men chosen from the priests, scribes, and elders). It’s obvious that he had heard of Jesus’ teachings and knew of the miracles. He knew that Jesus could only do the miracles if he came from God. Nicodemus could not have missed seeing the love and compassion of Jesus. To impact people we meet, we need to see their greatest needs and provide help. People saw that Peter and John were bold, even though they were unlearned and ignorant men. They witnessed the power of God in the healing of the lame man.
Acts 4:5-14 And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and elders, and scribes, And Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and…kindred of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. And when… they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this? Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; Be it known…that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled…took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.
What Nicodemus witnessed in Jesus caused him to do something about the condition he was in. It was a catalyst that caused a reaction. A catalyst is the channel or mechanism that promotes a reaction. Is our life a catalyst that causes people to seek God? Can God use our testimony to produce a response to God? We all go through trials, but they’re a training ground for God to use us as a catalyst. We suffer loss, grief, or heartache so we can understand and can help someone. We experience weakness so we can help someone have strength. We suffer failure so we can help those suffering failure.
Initially we see Nicodemus is like a spectator, not an engaged participant. Some people may admire the lives of saints but they don’t want to be a saint or be involved. Would people at work or that you’re around be surprised to know you’re a Christian? Isaiah says some only wanted to be called by the name but to eat and wear whatever they wanted.
Isaiah 4:1 And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach.
Nicodemus had a reputation to protect (on the Sanhedrin counsel). Are we ashamed or staying in the dark so we’re only a spectator of the Lord? It minimized the cost Nicodemus felt to only be a spectator. If he went to Jesus by day, there’d be more cost for him. If we’re not out in the light as Christians, we won’t cause any reaction toward God in those around us. When we’ve been saved for a while, do we say I’ve learned some wisdom and now we’re back in the shadows? People deciding about being saved ask what it will cost in their relationships and activities. It’s a decision that will affect your life.
Luke 14:28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?
The saved also go through spiritual earthquakes and crossroads when we need to react. Spiritual earthquakes are a good thing if we want to move forward. It’s a necessary process where what we’ve believe and been taught is challenged. When opportunities open, it’s important to act since we may never have another chance. We need to ask, where are we?
Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
(Notes from the Mature Class Bible Study, teacher Danny Sanders)