Life Lessons: Nicodemus
Reading: John 19:38-42
I think we can all agree that all things hidden eventually come to the light, either by choice or force. It may not be how we expect or in the way we hoped but truth does come out. When Nicodemus originally met with Christ, he was full of questions and concerns. He was part of the religious elite and yet that religion had left some gaps. However, unlike his cohorts, Nicodemus didn’t try to trap Jesus in public with his questions, rather he went in secret to Him in the hopes of finding answers, but did he?
I’ve heard some people argue that we don’t have a conclusive answer on Nicodemus’ faith story. That we aren’t told that he chose to believe Christ. While I agree that we aren’t told in words, I have to politely disagree with their assessment because I believe we are told in his actions.
A lot has transpired since we last saw Nicodemus. It’s Friday. Christ is dead. The disciples have scattered and Nicodemus is faced with a choice. When we look in John 19, we find him with a friend, Joseph of Arimathea, another secret disciple. They weren’t stupid. Both men understood that following this Christ was a dangerous proposition so they proceeded with caution but now He was dead and they had to make a choice. Let their secret die in the shadows or risk stepping into the light.
I’ve always wondered if Nicodemus and Joseph watched the crucifixion. They seem to be in the wings waiting and as you know death rarely works on a perfect timeline, I figure they had to be there… in the shadows… in the dark but it was here that they chose to come to the light. They went to Pilate and asked permission to take Jesus’ body and bury it which tells me several things.
First, they weren’t just groupies. They respected Christ and wanted Him to have a proper burial which He would most likely not have received without their assistance. (Remember, his friends had scattered.)
Second, they were no longer hiding in the dark. Not only were they willing to publicly tie themselves to this “fanatical teacher” but to a criminal. This was both brave in the religious realm and the political. Remember, Christ was just executed because He was a threat to Caesar. Now, they were showing Him compassion and choosing to be linked to Him.
Finally, by choosing to deal with Christ’s body they were removing themselves from participation in the Passover because they would be unclean. They were choosing love and faith over religion which is quite the testimony for these two men. They realized that their relationship with Jesus was more important than the religious doctrine they held and that, my friend, is the Gospel.
So, that is my question for you. Have you come to have a relationship with the Messiah or are you still clinging to religion? Nicodemus realized the overwhelming change that came from a relationship with Jesus and it changed him just as it can change you if you’ll let it.
Lord, thank you for not only saving me but for wanting to have an intimate, daily relationship with me. Give me the courage to step into the light when directed and to live my life in a way that glorifies You and gives testimony to Your goodness.