The Bible sets amazing standards for people of faith. If the ten commandments were not hard enough to live up to, Jesus interpreted them adding difficulty.
“You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder’; and ‘whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire.
— Matthew 5:21-22 (NRSV)
No wonder Nicodemus came to Jesus at night (John 3:1-2). What deep dark secret did he have in his life that might place him in danger of judgement? I like to write broad general confessions of sin so participants may write in their own sins and hear the assurance of pardon for those sins.
But what would it take for people to truly and perfectly live sin free lives? People who live real lives with daily temptations and compromises and imperfections? People affected by emotionally charged topics that lead to emotional outbursts?
Could real people set aside every past indiscretion and every past neglect and live new lives or would they have to start over? Or as Nicodemus suggested: crawl back inside one’s mother’s womb and be born again?
The amazing part of Nicodemus’ encounter with Jesus is learning that God chooses us to be perfect. That we need only look upon Jesus to be healed of our imperfections so we can live lives as new people.