Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Cowardly Lions

Out of fear (presumably), Nicodemus comes to Jesus at night and in this darkness entrusts Nicodemus with powerful truths....

All from John 3:
Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council.
....right after Christ's proclamations Nicodemus confesses his faith in Jesus...."Rabbi WE know that you are a teacher from God....(v.2) He believed his miracles were from God. (2b) The one preceding miracle John tells us is the turning of water into wine. To Nicodemus Jesus states: "I tell you the truth no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again. (v3) ...."Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. (12,13) Christ makes his other -worldly statements to Nicodemus after Nicodemus confesses that Jesus was God's miracle worker and  he is a teacher of God. Why is this so critical? Because by admitting Jesus is a teacher from God he logically would be accepting of all his teaching. Certainly this talk of a "new birth" was difficult for Nicodemus but there is no talk of Nicodemus' outright rejection of Christ.
Continuing on....."For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." vv 16-17

Now what may or may not be a dig at Nicodemus as Jesus proceeds with "This is the verdict :Light has come into the world, but men love darkness instead of light." But no, Nicodemus is a child of God. A frightened one, but one nonetheless. He insists on meeting Jesus at night. And he had at least one other believer from the Pharisees. " Rabbi, We know you are a teacher who has come from God.

But you object that Nicodemus is a coward- so what? Do I have to mention Peter's denials? Or the times Jesus alluded his executioners "Again they tried to seize him ( the Jews seizing Jesus), but he escaped their grasp. (Jn 10:39) Because his time had not come. (Jn 7:6) Do you think that God loves less the Coptic Christians and Christians in Iraq because they are coy? Was Nicodemues to offer himself as a Christ believer so the Sanhedrin  so he could enjoy a stoning?

But we do see growth in Nicodemus"

Finally the temple guards went back to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them "Why didn't you bring him in? No one ever spoke the way this man does, the guard's declared. Has any of the rulers of law -there is a curse on them. " Nicoearlier who was one of their own number, asked, Does our law condemn anyone without first hearing him to find out what he is doing? They replied, 'Are you from GAlilee too? Look into it, and you will find that a prophet does not come out of Galilee. (Jn 45-52)
, who had gone to Jesus

The Burial of Jesus:

Later, Joseph of Arimathea, asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews. With Pilate's permission, he came and took the body away. He was accompanied by Nicodemus. the man who had earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nichodemeus brought a mixture of myrh and aloes, about 75 pounds. Taking Jesus' body the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen.


  1. it is a great comfort to know that there are stories of "cowardly" christians. there are bad outcomes (e.g. the rich man who walks away after Jesus says to sell his possessions) and great outcomes (e.g. Peter! Nicodemus, as you say), so what's the difference? ... it's hard to say but we know that God gives faith and courage to some so for me, the lesson to be learned is that we should ask. For more faith and greater courage, for the kingdom.

  2. His story is a great thread running through John. Part of the remnant, one of the few saved from all the Pharisees. But I think the main lesson to be learned from this post is that it's time for a good spell-cheker.