Sunday, Mar. 12 Nic at Night
The story of Nicodemus is fascinating. After Jesus drove out the money changers in John 2, there is a short account about people believing in Jesus. But Jesus was not impressed and “would not entrust himself to them.” John 3 starts out with the word “Now” leading into his dialogue with Nicodemus. But the Greek word for “now” also can mean “but.” This throws a different light on these two incidents. If the “believing” in John 2:23 is a shallow belief, i.e, not unto salvation, and the word “Now” really means “But,” then the account of Nicodemus is a contrast. Two things support that view. The way Jesus dialogued with Nicodemus is not the normal way he dealt with Jewish leaders. When Jesus dialogued with a sincere seeker of truth, he spent time with him, gently explaining things in terms that could be understood. He did that with the woman caught in adultery, the Samaritan woman, and the rich young ruler. This was the way he spoke to Nicodemus. Secondly, John reveals more about Nicodemus in John 7:50, where Nicodemus boldly defended Jesus, and was promptly rebuked. In John 19:38-42, he, along with another secret follower, Joseph of Arimathea, took Jesus’ body from the cross and provided a proper burial. Nicodemus and Joseph were not alone. John 12:42. “. . . many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue.” I am amazed that Nicodemus would “come out of the closet” at this critical time (Jesus’ death), while Jesus’ own disciples hid in fear behind locked doors. Nicodemus and Joseph had more to fear than being thrown out of the synagogue; they were risking their lives. I look forward to meeting these two men.