We hear a lot about inequality within our society today. It seems some form of inequality is the underlying source of much of the social conflicts and protests we hear reported in our news feeds. Whether it is racial inequality for educational opportunities, gender-based inequality in regards to salaries, or inequality of hiring practices in regards to one's sexual identity. It can seem to us that inequality is one of, if not the greatest challenge within our society today. It may be surprising then for us to hear about the perfect equality with which the Lord Jesus relates to us. You see, Jesus treats everyone the same.
Nicodemus was "a man of the Pharisees, a ruler of the Jews." We meet Nicodemus in John 3. He was looked up to and well-respected. Among all the people of the Jews at the time of Jesus' ministry, he would have been considered among the group of "most likely to be honored by God in the coming kingdom." He read and studied the Bible often, He had disciplined himself to meticulously follow all of God's laws. He was responsibly and trustworthy. He was a man of integrity, with an exalted reputation among his people. He was near the top of the social ladder. Yet, when he comes to Jesus, he is welcomed by him with this challenge, "You must be born again" (John 3:7)
In response to this honored Bible teacher's confusion, Jesus went on to explain to him that he must turn away from depending upon his religion to bring him to God, and instead be completely renewed in the Spirit of God. He must turn away from the life he had been living and trust God to give Him a new life. He must be born again, which begins with looking to Jesus as the Savior, depending upon Christ to give Him this new life.
Later in John's Gospel we are introduced to a sinful woman. She was undoubtedly poor, for she was used by those in authority and higher social standing without anyone standing up for her. She is known to us as the woman, "caught in the act of adultery" (John 8:4). The scribes and Pharisees brought her to Jesus to test him, to see if He would abide by the law of Moses or outright reject it. They had not liked his message of grace that He had been preaching. "The law of Moses commanded us to stone such women. What do you say?" This was their challenge to the Lord.
The response the Lord Jesus had is well-known, "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her" (John 8:7) And they all left him and the woman with the cloud of their obvious guilt hanging over them.
This woman, was at the other end of the social spectrum from Nicodemus. As Nicodemus was considered a respectable, God-fearing, and wealthy, this woman was only known for sin. And yet, Jesus treated her in much the same way he treated Nicodemus. The way for this woman to be saved was if she would, "sin no more." She must turn away from her sin, and depend upon Jesus to give her new life. How could she do that? Jesus provided the answer in the very next verse , "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life" (8:12). The way to this new life is to repent of the darkness in your heart and life and depend upon Jesus as the light of the world and thus the light of your life. Jesus is the way. Repent and believe in Him.
Jesus' message for salvation and life transformation is the same for everyone. "Repent and believe the good news" (Mark 1:15). That is the same message, no matter who you are or what your social status might be. You must repent and trust in Christ alone for the forgiveness of your sins and in order to be given a new life. It is the same for me, as it is for the homosexual protestor. This message is the same for you, as it is for the serial adulterer. This message is the same for us, as it is for elementary school students. It is the same for white Americans in "the Bible belt," as it is for Muslims in Somalia. It is the same for the conservative Bible study leader in your church, as it is for the meth addict living in the trailer park in your town. It is the same for those who give money to support their local law enforcement, as it is for those who financially support Black Lives Matter. It is the same for registered republicans, as it is for those who only vote for democrats. It is the same for Stephen Colbert, as it is for Donald Trump. We all must repent of our sin, turn away from what we have been depending upon for our lives and future, and trust in Jesus as the Son of God, to transform us and make us new people.
Jesus is the only way to God. And repentance is the only way to have Jesus. Yet as we all know, there are many ways to repentance. No matter who you are or where you are today, know this, Jesus will treat you just like he treats everyone else. You must repent and depend upon Him alone for eternal life.