The other morning I was shampooing my hair as I usually do, the event was as always mundane and well … dull as usual. Until I noticed the conditioner standing on the shelf. Why not try it I thought. Oh how different the hair became afterwards: so soft, so easy to comb. It was a new experience, another level of my hair-experience-life. How could I have lived a life without this product? How could I have missed out on such hair-enhancement?
Jesus conversation with the Pharisee Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman in the gospel of John are transcending the good teacher paradigm. Let me explain: Both the Pharisee and the woman thought that Jesus just offered a new “hair product,” they were not really seeking a life-changing, life-turning event. Jesus the teacher they could accept, but not Jesus the Savior. They were still in the teacher paradigm, Jesus was a good guy, a great teacher and a miracle worker – they said “amen” to all that. But Jesus is not interested in taking them to the next level. He is not into easy fixes.
Jesus is relentless. He does not accept the (too narrow) teacher epithet. He gracefully and respectfully invades our life. There is no middle ground when meeting Jesus. Nicodemus becomes quiet, the Samaritan woman does the opposite. No matter the response, when encountering Jesus it is difficult to stay the same. The message of Christianity is therefore deeply formative in its nature: it addresses the core of the human soul – its lays bare life’s emptiness without a Savior. That’s why a general shapeup won’t do with Jesus (actually nothing that mankind, individually or collectively, can accomplish is sufficient to achieve righteousness). The savior paradigm can only be reached through the receiving of the new birth as Jesus tells Nicodemus: “…no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit” (John 3:5).
Christians are people that have been birthed again, from worldly thought constructs, into His kingdom by believing that Jesus is the Savior that gives us life from above through His Spirit. They are people that no longer view Jesus only as a good teacher and a role model but as an all sufficient, all loving, all providing Savior. If Jesus is just a good teacher, it’s like you settle for new “hair products,” (outside change) when you need something far more life-changing (inside transformation).
Settle for nothing less than Jesus. Jesus the Savior.
Written by Pierre Nordling