Two days until Valentine’s Day. Have you connected with your loved one this week? Figured out something that would mean a lot to a friend? In order to have genuine relationship, we search for ways to connect with those we love.
It works in the business world as well. If we have a product or service, we try to connect people’s needs to what we have to offer. Networking. Connecting.
We can apply this to life lessons. Let’s suppose your 16 year old seems oblivious to the seriousness of the speeding tickets he is receiving. Then one day his good friend is killed by a another teen in a speeding accident. Suddenly, your teen sees the consequences of speeding because it has entered his world of experience. He has connected.
This is probably a long way around to where I’m trying to “connect” you, but I find that Scripture makes more sense to me when I see the connections between the characters, the traditions, the way of thinking, the habits, even the geography. For instance, when Bible characters are going (down) south from Galilee to Jerusalem, they say they are going up to Jerusalem. They don’t mean north, as we would think, they literally mean up as in “up the hill,” because Jerusalem sits on a raised mound.
So, before we leave Nicodemus, there are a couple of “connections” I want you to think about. Early in the story of A Heart for Truth, we hear of a report from Bethlehem shepherds who say they saw a vision of angels. The angels told the shepherds that the Messiah had been born. Sure enough the shepherds search out the stables and find the baby just as they were told. They were excited to share their good news.
17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child. Luke 2:17
Since Bethlehem and Jerusalem are only about 5 miles apart, the news could have easily reached the Temple area where Nicodemus might have heard the report. Connection. We discover then the low opinion Pharisees and other Temple leaders have toward shepherds. This helps us to understand Nicodemus’ attitude later in the story when, in Nicodemus’ time of need, he is rescued (heaven forbid!) by a shepherd . Connection.
Another example of connecting scenes is when Jesus comes to the Temple as a twelve-year-old boy where he is:
46b …sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions. Luke 2:46b
We hear the teachers’ reactions to Jesus.
47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his questions. Luke 2:47
Rather than seeing this as an isolated incident, we can surmise that very likely Nicodemus could have been one of those teachers who heard Jesus’ questions and answers. Connection. Could Nicodemus have reflected years later on this incident, remembering some of the things that were said? Possibly.
As you study the Bible, I encourage you to look beyond the immediate passage and see how it fits in the totality of the passage. Who is around around to hear or see what is going on? How does it connect to verses in another book of the Bible? Scripture is seldom isolated passages. One thing connects to another and another. It all fits together to bring the whole message. Seek out these connections. I’d love to hear some of your discoveries.
Meanwhile, think about your friend or loved one this week. Share your love with them in surprising ways that will connect you to each other more deeply.
~ Joyce ~