Lines of Communication

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By Tom Carter, Associate Pastor

Have you ever watched a news show where the host asks the guest a very interesting question only to be disappointed when the person responds with a prepared monologue that has no relation to the question? Of course you have! In fact, I think most of us have come to expect this from the interviews we watch. Talking through and past one another has become standard practice in America when tough subjects are on the table. And then of course, there is the double standard by which we tend to assess the actions of those who hold similar beliefs, verses those with whom we disagree. So, how am I supposed to approach others who have tough questions that require uncomfortable answers?

            In John chapter 3 Nicodemus, a member of the Sanhedrin and “Jew of Jews” comes to Jesus by night with some tough questions (see John 3:1-21). Nicodemus flatters Jesus just a bit as he presses Him to declare the source of His power. In His response, Jesus not only answers the clever prodding of Nicodemus, but offers a monologue that includes arguably the most famous verse in the New Testament. Unlike those interviewed on our favorite shows, Jesus actually tackles the question He is asked. In this passage Jesus not only explains who He is, but also describes the nature of His mission here on earth.

            Wouldn’t it be amazing if each of us, when asked important questions were willing to give honest answers? And perhaps more valuable, would be the capacity to be still and respectfully listen as potentially frustrating information is shared. Nicodemus was a highly educated and respected man in his community, and although he may have been a pawn sent to gather intel on this new “Rabbi” Jesus, both he and Jesus engaged in a very fruitful discussion. So, maybe next time someone asks you a question that might go down an uncomfortable path, take a moment to think it through and make the choice to give an honest answer that is edifying to the hearer.