JOHN | The most important relationship you will ever have {DAY THREE}

Read: John Chapter Three

“He must increase, but I must decrease.” { John 3:30 }

Have you ever been running hard toward a destination, only to realize that you’ve been going the wrong way? This happened to our family last summer while driving back to North Carolina from Florida. Road construction forced us to detour from our normal route, but given that we have made this particular drive many times, my husband and I were sure we could navigate the detour without the help of our GPS. Let’s just say that we spent almost two hours aimlessly driving through Georgia that day, completely lost.

In many ways, Nicodemus, the man we meet in John chapter three, was also aimlessly lost. A religious leader among the Jews of his day, Nicodemus was certain that he was headed the right way—towards eternal life in God’s kingdom. He knew the scriptures backwards and forwards. He could recite passages and list all the rules and requirements. And yet, clearly something was missing in his life, for late one night he went in search of answers—he went in search of truth. He went in search of Jesus.

And I love that before Nicodemus even had a chance to state the reason for his visit, Jesus—the true compass—answered Nicodemus’ unspoken question.

“Truly, truly I say to you,” Jesus began, “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Jesus wasted no time getting to the heart of the matter—immediately pointing Nicodemus to the truth:

A relationship with Jesus, not religion, is what brings a person into the kingdom of God. Click To Tweet

Nicodemus had religion. He had rules, man-made requirements, and self-righteousness. But he did not have the only thing he really needed. He did not have a relationship with Jesus.

The truth is, we could never be good enough to earn God’s favor. We could never follow enough rules or observe enough requirements. We are all sinners { Romans 3:23 } in need of a Savior. And God in His great mercy chose to send His Son into this world to pay the price for our sin and free us from sin’s massive burden.

As Jesus told Nicodemus, it is belief in Him that enables us to be born into God’s family.

We are not told whether or not Nicodemus became “born again” that night or one later, but we do know that Nicodemus was one of the two men who tended to Jesus’ body after the crucifixion { John 19:39 }. It seems that Nicodemus allowed Jesus to alter the course of his life and set him on the right path—the path of a relationship with the Son of God.

We then see several verses later in the chapter, in John 3: 30, a beautiful example of the results of a life lived in relationship with the Savior.

John the Baptist, the one sent to prepare people for the coming Messiah, had seen a drastic reduction in his followers, as many had begun following Jesus instead. Some of John’s loyal followers approached him about the situation. But John, knowing full well that his mission all along was to point people to Jesus, and knowing that the only thing in his life that truly mattered was his relationship with Jesus, uttered some of the most beautiful words in scripture when he answered:

“He must become greater; I must become less.” { John 3:30 NIV }

John’s relationship with Jesus was what defined him—not his followers, social media likes, professional awards or any other earthly measures of success. The only measure he used for his success was in his relationship with the One who loved him more than he could ever imagine. Oh that the same would be true for us. What freedom and joy that would bring!

Reflect:

  • Do you find yourself trusting more in rules and religion, or in your relationship with Jesus? What freedoms do you find in your relationship with Jesus?
  • In what ways has your relationship with Jesus altered the course of your life?
  • With what measure do you determine your success? What quality, criteria, or relationship defines you most?
  • How was John the Baptist able to say, “[Jesus] must become greater; I must become less?”   In what areas of your life might you need to become less?

Prayer:

Lord, that you would offer us, sinners, a relationship with You is beyond our comprehension. Jesus, the words thank You hardly seem enough to express our gratitude for your sacrifice on our behalf. But we do thank you and worship you—our true compass. We ask that you would lead us and guide as we walk hand in hand with You. We also ask that You would become greater in our lives and that we might become less. Help us to surrender all to You so that You, and our relationship with You, becomes what defines us and gives us strength. We love you Lord, amen.

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Jennifer Bleakley
Jennifer Bleakley
I’m Jen, a wife of 18 years and mom of two—a teen boy and an almost tween girl. Born and raised in FL, I have called North Carolina home for the past 14 years, but am still a flip-flop girl at heart. I am passionate about studying, teaching, writing and speaking about the Bible, and the Hope found in Jesus. If I am not hanging with my family, tossing a ball for our golden retriever, or typing on my well-used computer, I am most likely buried under a mountain of laundry! I am excited to join you on this wonderful adventure through God’s Word.

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