In March 1993, I had chest pains and periods of shortness of breath. I went to see the doctor, and he referred me to a specialist. After a number of tests, it was determined that my aortic valve was defective. It was leaking badly, and it eventually would have led to a heart attack. On November 12, 1993, I had open heart surgery. My defective valve, as well as part of the aorta, was removed, and a pig valve was put in its place. Little was known about how well it would work or how long it would last. I was part of a group of 500 people worldwide who took part in a study. It was assumed that it would last ten to twelve years. It actually lasted eighteen years. In January 2012, it had to be replaced, and another tissue valve was put in. It is still working well.
Nicodemus also had a defective heart — not his physical heart, but his spiritual heart. Nicodemus, the Pharisee, held a position on the Sanhedrin, the Jewish high council and ruling body. He did everything required of him by the law, but it seems that he was unhappy with his faith. He had heard about Jesus, the rabbi who was going around the countryside preaching, healing, and performing miracles, and he wanted to see Him. He was aware that Jesus was special, so when he met Him, this was his opening statement:
“Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” (John 3:2b NKJV)
Jesus told him that he must be born again — a difficult statement to understand. Nicodemus questioned Jesus as to how this could possibly be accomplished. So, Jesus explained to him that he needed a new beginning, a new heart, just like being born again. He needed to put all his doubts aside and believe in Jesus, because:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16 NKJV)
It appears that Nicodemus kept an open heart toward Jesus. Once, when the Pharisees sought to bring Jesus in for questioning, he even spoke up for Him:
“Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?” (John 7:51 NKJV)
After Jesus’ death on the cross, Nicodemus became bolder in following Him. Accompanying Joseph of Arimathea, he brought about 75 pounds of spices to anoint Jesus’ body after Joseph had received permission from Pilate to take the body for burial. He and Joseph took Jesus’ body and laid it in Joseph’s tomb in the garden. He had a new heart indeed.
How about you? Do you feel at times like you need a new spiritual heart? Some of us have never asked Jesus to give us a new heart and for the forgiveness that comes with a right relationship with God. If so, we need to do that now. Others of us have done this in the past, but feel that we have fallen away and need to restore Jesus as the Lord of our life. Jesus is just a prayer away.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I recognize that I am a sinner in need of Your forgiveness. If I have never asked You to give me a new heart, I ask You now to come in, to forgive me, and to give me a new relationship with Your Father. I surrender to You as Saviour and Lord of my life. Amen.
Meaford, Ontario, Canada
Reprinted from PresbyCan with author’s permission.