tanner-nicodemusI’m a member of the Presbytery of Chicago‘s Vision and Praxis Task Force, charged with recommending a plan for the future of our presbytery. Thanks to the leadership of Angela Cowser, we’ve been reflecting on Jesus’ use of relational meetings to develop leaders and build his movement. I couldn’t help thinking about this as I wrote today’s Lenten Devotion for Fourth Church.

Reading: John 2:23-3:15

I’m not sure I’ve ever noticed before that Jesus didn’t trust himself with everyone who followed him. Having gathered a mass following because of the miraculous things he was doing, he was nonetheless wise enough about human nature to maintain clear boundaries with the masses.

But he did entrust himself to a leader of the people called Nicodemus. In fact, he shared with him one of his deepest and most profound teachings: unless we are born anew–unless we are fully transformed–we will not experience God’s kingdom as it emerges in the world.

What did Jesus see in Nicodemus that he didn’t see in the masses? Was there something special about Nicodemus that set him apart?

Nicodemus was a leader. Nicodemus was a change agent. Jesus knew that he had neither the time nor the energy to reach every single person with whom he came into contact. But he could empower a smaller group of leaders to bring forth his vision into the world. And Nicodemus proved himself faithful, sticking with Jesus until the very end.

During this season of Lent, let us all listen for God’s voice. Perhaps we too are the leaders God is calling to help transform the world.

Through the noise of the crowds and the busyness of life, help me to focus on Jesus and seek in him the deep truths of life. Amen

John W. Vest

John is a "church hacker" attempting to overcome the limitations of church as we know it. To connect with him and learn more about his work, please visit johnvest.com.

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