Jesus was well-known in Israel. Some people admired Him, while others vehemently rejected Him and wanted to kill Him. Oddly, those who despised Him the most were the ones who should have loved Him. The religious leaders never approached Jesus without trying to silence Him. They were very critical of Him, and they didn’t like the fact that He didn’t kowtow to them but stood against their self-righteous pride and rule over the people. These men served their own self-interest and didn’t honor God. There was one Pharisee who decided to humbly approach Jesus and seek truth.
“There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: the same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him” (John 3:1-2).
I like Nicodemus. He didn’t go along with his fellow Pharisees and despise Jesus but went to Him to find out truth. Jesus spoke with Nicodemus and told him to be born again.
“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).
Because this visit was recorded by John, we learn a great truth. When we are born into this life, we have a sin nature that will always cause us to stumble, but when we truly come to Jesus and are born again, we are a new creation in Christ. We will always have the sin nature, but from that point on, God sees us through the blood which Jesus shed for our salvation. We need to submit to Christ and turn from lust of the flesh and our own prideful desires. We need to walk in the Spirit, not in the flesh.
“That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6).
This conversation changed Nicodemus’ life. He was there with Joseph of Arimathea to bury Jesus after the crucifixion. Joseph was a Pharisee who secretly followed Christ.
There were many women who approached Jesus, and He was always kind and gentle toward them. One day, Jesus and the disciples were going to Galilee and traveled through Samaria. Near a city named Sychar, He sat on Jacob’s well and sent his disciples to town to buy some food. It was noon and time to eat. That’s when a woman came to draw water. Most women drew water early in the day when it was cool, but this woman came after the others were gone. She was a woman of Samaria, and He was Jewish. There should have been no contact between them, but Jesus asked her for water.
“Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? For the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans” (John 4:9).
Jesus told her that if she had known who He was, she would have asked Him for water and He would have given her living water. The conversation went on, and she was a little flirty with Him. He kept talking about the living water she could get from Him, and the woman finally said she wanted the living water. Jesus knew of her sins but wanted her to find salvation. He told her to call her husband to come to the well, and she said she had no husband. Jesus knew she was living a sinful life but didn’t condemn her. He told her she was right when she said she had no husband.
“For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly” (John 4:18).
God has established marriage to be a lasting covenant between a man and a woman, and “living together” isn’t condoned by God. The conversation went on, and the woman ended up recognizing that Jesus was the Messiah. This woman of Samaria was much more perceptive than the Scribes and Pharisees who should have known who He was. This woman went to the city and told the men, “Come see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?” (John 4:29). The men of the city came to Jesus and believed. Because the woman was brave enough to approach Him, she met Jesus and brought others to Him.
Another woman who approached Jesus had been ill for twelve years. She had spent all of her money on seeking medical help, but doctors couldn’t help her. She was in a crowd around Jesus when a man named Jairus approached Him. His daughter was dying, and he had faith that if Jesus would lay His hand upon her, the little girl would live. Jesus didn’t hesitate. He got up to follow the man and heal the girl. The woman who was ill knew she had to do something.
“For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole” (Mark 5:28). She had faith but wasn’t a show-off; she quietly touched the hem of His robe and was healed. “And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said Who touched my clothes?” (Mark 5:30). The woman was scared but fell down before Him and confessed that she had touched Him. Jesus wasn’t angry but full of compassion. “And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole: go in peace and be whole of thy plague” (Mark 5:34).
We should never be afraid to approach Jesus in faith.
Then He went to where the little girl had died. There were mourners making quite a noise, but Jesus told them the girl wasn’t dead. “And they laughed him to scorn. But when he had put them all out, he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying. And he took the damsel by the hand and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise” (Mark 5:40-41).
Can you imagine the emotions of the parents when their daughter came back to life? Only Jesus has conquered death for all who believe in Him. Approach Him today in faith and humbly ask for salvation.
The next ones to approach Him were two blind men. “And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou Son of David, have mercy on us” (Matthew 9:27). He asked them if they believed He could heal them, and they said yes. “Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you” (Matthew 9:29). It was their faith that allowed Jesus to heal them. They asked Him for mercy, and He showed them mercy.
As I read of the many different ways that people approached Jesus, I see that He always had compassion on anyone who needed His compassion. How do you approach Him? Are you one who demands that Jesus give you everything you want? Scripture gives many accounts of Jesus providing for needs, but I don’t see where He gave power and riches to people. We can look to the life of the Apostle Paul to see that Jesus meets our needs but doesn’t always give us what we think we need. Paul had something that troubled him greatly. He approached God about removing the problem.
“And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure” (2 Corinthians 12:7).
Paul was a man who lived by faith and served God every day. He established many congregations and wrote letters that edify us today. He could have been filled with pride over his accomplishments but understood the thorn in his flesh was to keep him humble. He didn’t like it but didn’t get angry with God for not taking the problem away.
“For this thing I besought the Lord thrice that it might depart from me” (2 Corinthians 12:8).
What was this thorn? Scholars have debated that question for centuries. Nobody truly knows, but we can learn a lesson from this. Not all troubles will depart just because we pray. We need to understand that God is sovereign.
“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
That’s the best way to approach God. Be humble, but make your petitions known to Him through prayer. His answer may be different than what you want, but He knows all things. He also knows what you will do if He gives you what you want. Will you use His healing to glorify Him, or will you believe you deserve all the material things you want? If you ask Him for a bigger house or more money, will you use it for His glory, or will you use it to puff yourself up to look important?
Paul’s attitude was one of submission and humility. “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).
We need to be humble when we approach Jesus. James and John had to learn that lesson. “And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire” (Mark 10:35).
That sounds like a “name-it-and-and-claim-it” type of approach. That’s not a good way to approach Jesus. Jesus asked them what they wanted, and their request was very selfish and for their own glory.
“They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory” (Mark 10:37).
Jesus told them they had no idea what they were asking. To their minds, it was a simple request – lift us up above all the other disciples – but they didn’t understand what would be required of them to be so honored. Too often, we don’t see beyond our own selfish desires, then blame God for not showering us with all we ask of Him.
“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up” (James 4:10).
Jesus knows what the future is and what we can handle. If we can’t pay the price of our wants, then He won’t give them to us. If our wants will ultimately harm us, He won’t answer our prayer. James and John would have a lot of persecution in their future, and James would be killed for his faith while John spent time in prison and on Patmos. They are with Jesus now, but are they sitting in places of honor? We won’t know until we are gathered Home.
Instead of asking Jesus to give you what you want, why not approach Him and ask Him what you can do to serve Him. After all, He has given His all for you.
God bless you all,
Recommended prophecy sites:
All original scripture is “theopneustos,” God-breathed.
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