- We are already in relationship with him.
- He wants to be in relationship with us (even as our servant).
- Jesus is not willing to be our personal magician, miracle-worker or power broker, but he is willing to walk through the wilderness with us as long as it takes.
- To relate to Jesus is to relate to a concrete human being (that is still the case even if his physical presence is not with us), but it is also to relate to mystery. He is not easily pinned down. He speaks in metaphor and story and rarely simply tells you what to do. He must be engaged and struggled with, but we can do so with the absolute confidence that he will never leave us.
I like to think that Jesus relates to us in this way not just to protect the mystery of God and keep us from knowing too much. I think he also does it out of profound respect for us, for our need to use our God-given abilities, including our imagination and our reasoning, to come to terms even with God.
The Bible in many ways would have been a much more helpful book if it was written as a clear set of propositions and commandments. The truth is God has more respect for us than that.
- Second, it is OK for us to come to Jesus “by night.” Wary or even afraid, doubtful and needing privacy, we can come to Jesus when we are in those places. As the hymn says, “Just as I am.” But we can expect that Jesus will always try to draw us out into the light and challenge us to believe, to participate in God’s own life, which is the life of the Spirit. He will not force us, but he will challenge us.
- A third thing, you can legitimately answer all those questions that an evangelical might ask you with one word, “Yes.” Are you born again? Yes. Read the baptismal rite. Have you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Yes. I reserve the right not to use the word “personal” as it is not a word used to modify “Lord and Savior” in the Bible or in the Prayer Book.” On this point you can be more fundamentalist than they are. Do you have a relationship with Jesus Christ? Yes you do, intimately so. You were joined with him in your Baptism and you feed on him in each Eucharist. It does not get any more intimate than that.
Can that relationship be strengthened and deepened? Of course it can. Nobody, and I mean nobody, can say differently this side of heaven (and perhaps even afterward).Thank God for Nicodemus and his curiosity and his courage. Thank God for Jesus and his mischievous mystery, and also, mostly, for his tenacious love.