Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Jesus Concerts, Justin Bieber Style

Suggested Reading: John 3:1-15

A surprisingly successful theatrical release a few years back was the Justin Bieber documentary, Never Say Never. The movie documented a phenomenon with which we are all familiar. Thousands of screaming teen and preteen girls were in love with Justin Bieber. They could tell you his birthday, his weight, his favorite colors and foods. They could tell you all of the instruments that he can play, and show you his dance moves on demand. They all dreamed of marrying him. But none of them had ever met him in person. They thought he was great and I imagine that it is really fun being a fan and standing in a coliseum with thousands of other people who can quote every lyric of every song. But at the end of the day, they finished the concert and then went on with the rest of their lives. They were fans. But nothing more.

In John chapter 3, we find a man who treated Jesus much the same way. Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a member of the Jewish ruling council. John 3:2 tells us, 'He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.”' (NIV). Nicodemus thought Jesus was great. He believed Jesus and his teachings came from God but he came to Jesus at a time when no one would see him coming. According to the original Greek, Nicodemus didn't just come at night but "in a nighttime kind of way." Nicodemus thought Jesus was great but he didn't want anyone else to know he thought Jesus was great. At that point in time, Nicodemus was a fan of Jesus but nothing more. 

We have lots of people in our churches who are massive Jesus fans, but not much more. They enjoy going to Jesus concerts every Sunday, they may even believe Jesus really was the son of God who died to save them, but then they go on with their lives as if Jesus was just a rock star sent to entertain them. There is no attempt to follow his teachings day in and day out. Jesus is just a great guy who doesn't really affect the way they live and they aren't sure they want anyone else to know how highly they think of Jesus.

Are you like that? Are you a Jesus fan but not a Jesus follower? Do you hesitate to bring up Jesus in conversations at work or school because you don't know how people will react? Do you think Jesus is a great guy and even know a lot about him but hesitate to lay your reputation on the line for him? If so, maybe it's time to stop being a Jesus fan and start following him instead.

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