The First 15

Monday March 18, 2024

by Jan Davis

Today is Monday, March 18 and we are reading through the third chapter of the Gospel of John.

Opening Prayer

Blessed Lord God, thank you for the daily joy of reading scripture and spending time in prayer. Speak to me from the ancient words of John’s Gospel and help me understand the message you have for me. Teach me to listen to your still small voice guiding me throughout my day.

Scripture Reading

Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.” Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.” John 3:1-6


Nicodemus was uncertain about who Jesus was but came seeking to find out the truth of his identity. He came to visit Jesus at night, in the darkness. Nicodemus was well educated, theologically knowledgeable and a member of the religious elite. Perhaps he came to visit Jesus at night so that his interest would be hidden. For a learned Jew of the council to approach this questionable itinerant preacher would be shocking. Nicodemus risked his reputation because he wanted to know who Jesus was. His coming at night also implies he was “in the dark,” uncertain and unclear about Jesus’ true identity. Nicodemus called Jesus “Rabbi.” He acknowledged that he was a teacher and a miracle worker. But he wants to know if Jesus is more than that? Is he the Messiah? The Son of God?

For over two thousand years, people have struggled with Jesus’ true identity. In historical records he is often lumped with other prophets and religious leaders – Mohammed, Confucius, and Buddha. He is known for his moral teachings, his goodness and love. He is believed to have started a movement out of the Jewish faith, a religious sect that led to Christianity. But divine? Hmmm. Secular America mostly believes Jesus was a good man who lived in ancient Israel, but the majority doubt he was a powerful divine savior who suffered, died and was resurrected and now lives and reigns with God in heaven.

In the Gospels, there is doubt and confusion even among the disciples. His disciples walked, talked and ate with Jesus, saw him perform countless miracles, experienced his teaching and his presence. Again and again they indicate that they are unsure of his true identity. One day before they head to Jerusalem and to the cross, Jesus asked them, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God” (Matthew 6:16). Ultimately, Jesus asks each of us that same question. “Who do you say that I am?”

Ask: Am I still “in the dark” and uncertain of Jesus’ true identity? Who do I say Jesus is?

Pause and Pray

Closing Prayer

Blessed Lord Jesus, as you met with Nicodemus in his doubt and confusion, come and meet with me and answer my questions. Reveal the truth of your identity as God’s only Son and shine your glory in the darkness and confusion of the world. I give my heart and life to you and ask you to be my companion and guide. Amen

The First 15

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