What’s your height? Do you stand tall? Or like me, do you stand small? Zacchaeus was a wee little man. Remember the childhood song but he had a big job as tax collector and he makes himself tall by climbing a sycamore tree to see Jesus (Luke 19). John 3 talks of another man of stature, Nicodemus. He was a leader in the Sanhedrin, a Jewish council. Nicodemus was actually a member of the Great Sanhedrin which ruled the Jews. He is only mentioned in the Gospel of John for whatever reason but John thought he needed to be told about. Then there’s the giant, Goliath, who was over nine feet tall, and brought down by David, who was young and small in stature.
My granddaughters and I love going to the “Butterfly House,” as we call it, at our local nature center and we’ve watched the butterflies through their metamorphosis, the emerging from their cocoons. They look so small coming out as they begin to break the cocoon. Out pops their little head and then one wing and then the other wing. If we look at metamorphosis from a worm to a butterfly we see how something so small and uninspired can turn into something that holds his head high and spreads its’ wings, something so beautiful and so great, something that appears as if to say “here I am” and “I stand tall.”
Nicodemus is like a butterfly only his metamorphosis was of the heart. He definitely fits the metamorphosis pattern only he started off with a prideful position in the Sanhedrin. At first he is like the worm and goes into secrecy to approach Jesus and ask about his talk of New Birth (John 3:1-15). Then like the emerging butterfly he starts to find the truth and his true self. John goes on to tell us how Nicodemus later stands so tall, so firm in his faith and belief that he stands up and testifies for Jesus against the very Sanhedrin he was a part of (John 7:50-52), and later even assisted with Jesus’ burial (John 19:39-42).
You know over time we can get a wrong self-perception. That’s what pride can do to us. And too much pride used the wrong way gives us an incorrect view of ourselves. That’s what happened to Nicodemus and Goliath. They both had incorrect, overly prideful, self-perceptions but they had totally different outcomes from it. Nicodemus ended up finding Jesus and Goliath ended up dead from the small boy like stature of David whom Goliath, himself, laughed at. It wasn’t through pride that David was able to bring down the greatly feared Goliath but through a humble heart and because of his trust and faith in the Lord. We are told to stand firm, stand tall, hold our heads high, in our faith like David (1 Samuel 17:45-47; 1 Corinthians 15:58, 16:13; Philippians 4:1; and Galatians 5:1).
No matter our actual height our pride can make us feel taller, make us stand with our shoulders held back and heads held higher. God’s Word says the meek and humble, those who realize their place in this world, shall inherit His kingdom (Matthew 5:5). So put the pride aside and echo God’s sentiment to stand tall, stand firm, with Him. What’s the test of time? Our time with God is eternal and our test is what we do with Him now. “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 ESV).