But if you don’t believe me when I tell you about earthly things, how can you possibly believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ever gone to heaven and returned. But the Son of Man has come down from heaven. John 3:12-13 NLT
Jesus’ words to Nicodemus were upsetting. Not only did he not believe Jesus about tangible things, he rendered himself impotent to hear and understand things intangible, the matters of the kingdom. How was Jesus qualified to speak on things of heaven? He had come from there. That was His home before living on earth.
How humbling if Jesus were to tell me, face to face, that I simply don’t believe him when He reveals things to me pertaining to my life. How often I have said, “If only He would talk to me, I’d know what’s happening and what I should do next.” But the fact of the matter is, He is talking through the Word and the Spirit, and often, I shield my ears from what seems threatening or terribly inconvenient.
Instruction comes to me every day as I live in the scriptures. The teaching is comprehensive to include my life on earth and what transpires in the kingdom of God in heavenly places. It is an education I can’t get anywhere else on the planet. God is the instructor and the only one qualified on both subjects because He made the heavens and He made the earth. He also made every living thing in both realms.
I think of Isaiah’s words. Who is able to advise the Spirit of the LORD? Who knows enough to give him advice or teach him? Isaiah 40:13 While I would never think of suggesting to God that I should be His advisor, I communicate that when I argue with Him; when I listen but then walk away and fail to do what He asked. I’m saying through my unwillingness to act on the Truth that I know better than He does. Jesus’ teachings are difficult and strike my carnal mind as preposterous. Nicodemus must have felt like his head was spinning as Jesus spoke to him about spiritual births, wombs, and such. If he came for a hearty spiritual debate, he didn’t get one. Instead, he left with his heart burning.
Convicted. Loved. Stunned. Captivated. Changed. These are the outcomes of an encounter with Jesus. And none of them are catalysts for rising up to become a pious advisor to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
I know my place. I am Your disciple, a spiritual child, a friend. And, always Your student. Amen