Friday Prayer and Fasting Devotionals
Devotional 1 March 10 Friday, 2017 (John 3:1-18) Rev Trevor Faggotter, South Australia
Title: The Spirit—And Seven Heavenly Things
Key verse: John 3:12
Jesus’ encounter with Nicodemus reminds us that a person can become a very prominent religious leader, but not be a person of the Spirit. Israel had such leaders. So too, does the church.
It is crystal clear that you and I must receive Holy Spirit, be born from above (John 3:3) to even to begin to grasp the significance of Jesus – his identity and reign.
Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit. He was equipped, strengthened and enabled in his sufferings—by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Father raised Jesus by the Spirit (Rom. 8:11). He was, is and ever will be the Man of the Spirit. We too, are exhorted to go on being filled with the Spirit. We should refer often to John 3.
Nicodemus was bluntly confronted by his need for ‘new birth’. Interestingly, he later appears to have been very responsive to Jesus (John 7:5; 19:39) and to these ‘earthly things’ he needed to learn.
Jesus told Nicodemus in rapid-fire succession, of seven heavenly things that his ministry would reveal. These seven are: (i) the Incarnation and (ii) the Ascension: No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man, (iii) the Atonement in the cross: And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up …, (iv) God’s self-giving love for the whole world, (v) God’s intended salvation in sending Jesus, the Son (3:17), (vi) the two stark alternatives: condemnation, through persistent unbelief, or happy belief issuing in eternal life. Finally (vii) God’s judgment upon evil has arrived. Jesus is light of the world; this news is the world’s crisis. All must respond.
Ascended Lord Jesus, we give thanks for the gift of new birth, a fresh start, life in the Spirit. Thank you that you have freed us from condemnation. We praise you for the mystery of incarnation, the benefits of the atonement, and for your great love for us, and for the world. Open new doors we pray, for these ‘heavenly things’ to be made known, to the world you so deeply love today. Amen.