Be the Change

Opening Prayer

God, thank You that “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (1:5). I worship You.

Read John 7:45—8:1

45 Finally the temple guards went back to the chief priests and the Pharisees, who asked them, “Why didn’t you bring him in?”

46 “No one ever spoke the way this man does,” the guards replied.

47 “You mean he has deceived you also?” the Pharisees retorted. 48 “Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed in him? 49 No! But this mob that knows nothing of the law—there is a curse on them.”

50 Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus earlier and who was one of their own number, asked, 51 “Does our law condemn a man without first hearing him to find out what he has been doing?”

52 They replied, “Are you from Galilee, too? Look into it, and you will find that a prophet does not come out of Galilee.”

[The earliest manuscripts and many other ancient witnesses do not have John 7:53—8:11. A few manuscripts include these verses, wholly or in part, after John 7:36, John 21:25, Luke 21:38 or Luke 24:53.]

53 Then they all went home, 8 1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.

Reflect

The same light burning in you is enough to extinguish the worst darkness in the human heart.

Unlike the indecisive crowd (7:40–44), the religious leaders are quick to make up their minds about Jesus, sensing a threat to their control over the people. They may have expected solidarity from their own staff in this, but Jesus’ authority can make its mark wherever there’s a germ of openness in a human heart. Their report that “No one ever spoke the way this man does” (7:46) must have been like a slap in the face to a room full of religious teachers! The leaders resort to insults to discredit any tolerance of Jesus under the law (7:51,52).

They do not recognize that Jesus fulfills the law, introducing a new standard of righteousness through relationship with him, condemning their performance-based self-righteousness (Matt. 5:17,20). But there is hope even for this closed group, as it contains a quiet, reasonable follower of Jesus who is one of their own (7:50,51)! Who knows what influence for good, and God, Nicodemus went on to have among his fellow Pharisees.

What relationships do you have with non-Christians? You might be the first-fruit of a mighty harvest in your crowd!

Apply

You can show Christ’s hope to those who have never known it. Ask God to show you someone with whom you can share Jesus.

Closing prayer

Jesus, let Your light shine out of me so that others may see what I do and glorify You (Matt. 5:16).

Syndicated via Scripture Union. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Terry Schneider