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The Choice That Brought the Change

One of the many things I love about working at Better Life is 9 o'clock each morning.

At 9am, we come from all corners of the building and meet for worship. We take turns. My day is Monday. We start by taking prayer requests from fellow staff members as well as reading the prayer requests that have come in via phone, mail and email.

Whoever is in charge for the day can choose what to do for worship. The time will always start with prayer requests and will always close with prayer, but what is done in the middle is totally up to the individual in charge of leading.

A short time ago, Charlie chose to view season one of The Chosen on his day. I strongly supported the idea.

I own season one and watched it when it came out. I watched season two by ‘casting’ it from my phone to my TV. That was a new experience for me. Season 3, as of today, has not been released, but soon. I love this show! What can I say?

Is it 100% accurate? No. Is there some speculation and artistic liberty? Yes. But not to the point that it changes the character or the message of Jesus and who He was as a man on this earth 2,000 years ago. It does not change the message that Jesus came to save.

This past Wednesday was the scene where Nicodemus meets Jesus in private. Are you familiar with it?

The story is found in the book of John. They actually end up having 3 encounters but let's look at the first meeting: the one done in secret. This story can be read in John 3:1-21 and that is the meeting I want to focus on today.

The first thing I want to point out is that I have never, until this week, put the fact together that Jesus was talking to Nicodemus when He said, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 NKJV

Probably the most recognized verse in the world and yet somehow it was lost on me that it was Nicodemus who Jesus spoke those words to.

“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:17 NKJV

Frankly, I didn't realize that Jesus is the one that even spoke those words. I always assumed it was John. I love when things click. Those ah-hah moments.

In the show The Chosen it shows Jesus inviting Nicodemus to follow Him. You get the feeling that Nicodemus cannot and will not give up his lifestyle. He is used to nice things, as is his wife.

In the same episode you see Matthew at his tax collector booth. He is hated by his fellow Jews! He is being guarded by a Roman soldier when Jesus and the men walk by the booth. Jesus meets Matthew's eyes and keeps walking, but then stops. He turned and walked back and said, “Matthew, follow me.”

That’s all it took.

Matthew walked out of the tax booth, all the while the Roman soldier reminding him that he has it better than any Jew under Roman authority. Reminding him that he will have to give up his nice home and nice clothes and his plush lifestyle...and Matthew just keeps walking toward the Savior.

Nicodemus had everything and hesitated.

Matthew had everything and was all-in.

Now we do know that was not the end of Nicodemus. There would be two more encounters, but for today I want to focus on the choice these two men had.

And here is the beauty of the story. Although Nicodemus did not follow Jesus that day, we can safely assume he would eventually become a believer. A seed was planted that night, in that private meeting, that would sprout into a strong enough faith that Nicodemus would end up defending Jesus to the Pharisees and ultimately would help take His lifeless body off the cross.

Yes, Nicodemus was changed because of his meeting with Christ. Matthew also was changed. Hundreds, if not thousands, of lives were changed in those 3 short years leading to the cross.

My life has been changed. What about yours?

The point I am trying to make today is choices. We all have choices. We can hang on to our earthly “wealth” or we can let go and follow the only one that can give us what our heart truly desires.

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