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Misunderstanding Jesus I: Misunderstanding the Man and His Message

 ·   ·  ☕ 5 min read  ·  ✍️ Odunayo Rotimi


Key Text: Luke 9:11-17.
Key Character: Jesus.
Nicodemus: A rich old ruler of Israel.


The bible is flooded with various stories of many who misunderstood Jesus during His earthly ministry. Some were ignorant; they misunderstood Him because they were uninformed or lacked understanding of the matter at hand. Others still, wilfully. The elites of the Jewish clan and Judas were the examples of the latter. At the same time, a host of other individuals with whom Jesus had a one-on-one interaction are examples of the former.

Once misunderstood, three things happened. First, it gave rise to the opposition, led to down-out unbelief in people who otherwise would have believed in Jesus’ teaching, or there arose massive attempt to persecute Jesus. Sinning willfully, as we know, has no forgiveness. So, a host of Jewish leaders, Herod and Judas, died in their sins. In contrast, Jesus took pains, both on the cross and in speaking engagement, to clarify Himself, thereby rescuing those who ignorantly misunderstood Him from the pitfall of unbelief.

Therefore, our discussion in this series will focus on those who misunderstood Him ignorantly. This doing, we may soar above their ignorance into a longing to have an excellent discernment of Christ Jesus for an exciting walk in this world that willfully opposes Him.

Who misunderstood Jesus?


In that close-of-the-day conversation that produced one of the most famous verses in the bible, Jesus explained the risk Nicodemus stood if he did not repent. But, thanks to Jesus’ shepherd heart. He was patient enough to endure this doctrinally sound, highly biblically schooled, and revered Pharisees’ ignorance (see Jn 3:10).

However, one would have expected, like Jesus anticipated, that this man would comprehend Jesus. But alas, He interpreted things of high spiritual standing carnally. Jesus spoke of spiritual birth; Nicodemus interpreted it as natural birth. And by so doing, attached a physical impossibility to something that could occur only by a miracle. Specifically, Jesus told Mr Nico heaven was far from him because He was not born again. Yet, he felt Jesus was saying, a mother would rebirth the same person twice. If that were possible, Jesus would not have said, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh… Jn 3:6” For nothing born of the flesh (a mother) can be nothing but of the flesh no matter how many times birth was repeated.

Nonetheless, Jesus decided to take Mr Nicodemus on. Although his interruption in John 3:9 was appalling, Jesus fulfilled the prophecy of not breaking this bruised reed by going on to tell him the needed requirement to enter into the kingdom of God.

Have you also misinterpreted the new birth? Perhaps your signed confession card, your public confession of Jesus before an observant crowd, or belonging to a church accounts for your newbirth? Maybe all the new-day gimmicks have thrilled and ticked you to think the crowd’s way must be Jesu ways of doing things. In any case, Jesus only takes pain to clarify His point to the confused because His standpoints never move. We are the movables. He is unmovable!

The newbirth is simple and can be gotten only by simple faith. As the Holy Spirit hovered over Mary and Jesus was formed in her, so goes the new birth. So it is the hovering of the Holy Spirit upon us, per invitation, to birth Christ in us. for emphasis’s sake, the term “born again,” in original Greek, translates to “birth from Heaven.” Such as, Mary began to notice bodily changes and was susceptible to the demands of pregnancy from the pregnant, so is it with a newbirth. The pregnant’s tastes will defer. The company kept will change. Longings will become different than they used to be. Old things will be the thing of the past, and all things will become new from a heaven-ward standpoint.

It follows distinctly that the newbirth attributes our aspirations, considerations, and realities to the past or present. The newbirth, therefore, need not confuse you, except you are willing to deny yourself access to Christ Jesus. A litmus test for whether you understand being born again or are eventually born again is the test of currency. What sinful attitudes can you say was the torrential currency of your life before and now are past. Get a plain sheet of paper, list the following and write past or present against it, according to your current living standard. These obvious sins include stealing, backbiting, lying, envy, covetousness, feeling good enough without God, partying spirit, adultery, lust.

Alas, I do not mean to say a born again immediately becomes perfect and has no sin. The point is, as far as you know, do these sins remain cherished and are, therefore, remain uncleansed? Suppose you regard, not disregard by confessing and turning from that iniquity. In that case, the Lord will not honour your call for cleansing.

In addition, Jesus is born and must grow. But at birth, at initial entry, do you repulse His repellants that could stifle His life in you! Do you like Nicodemus conceives this as an impossibility by interposing wilful misunderstanding, or are you hungry for this distinctive birth? If hungry, kneel beside your bed or find a quiet place right sufficient for intimacy. Tell Him you want that birth, not general, but just as He got personal with Mary, He should do the same with you. To be sure this happened, check your state of desire for what pleases God. If it does not change, insist until a difference occurs.

The Samaritan woman

She said to Him, “Sir, You have no bucket, and the well is deep; where then do You get this living water.”… continued 👉🏿here

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Odunayo Rotimi
Odunayo Rotimi