John 3: 1-2
“Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said, ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.’
We don’t often think of him though his conversation with Jesus about being ‘born again’ has formed our theology, discipleship and mission.
His name means ‘victory of the people’ and he was a member of a strict regime, the highest Jewish authority, the governing body of the Jewish nation. He was a powerful Pharisee and a member of the highly educated society of Israel.
But he doesn’t fit into his world.
Do you know that feeling? A bit uncomfortable in the group of people you are with, the society you belong to, that activity group, the circle of friends you enjoy laughs with but inwardly you are not smiling as wide? Maybe even the Church you worship with? Something within you wants to explore outside of that group but you daren’t because you would be in trouble if you did. You want to ask questions that would get you kicked out if you did, so you internalise them and you feel alone.
In the regions where I serve I have had a few conversations with Church leaders who would love to explore a conversation about certain issues without the fear of reprimand. So I am planning to facilitate that without me being there. Maybe these meetings will be held during the night!
- Nicodemus said, ‘we know’ meaning he was not alone, there were some others on the same level who were discussing amongst themselves this man called Jesus.
- Nicodemus called Jesus, ‘Rabbi’ which shows us that this group though acknowledging the slander Jesus was receiving believed that he was indeed someone very important.
- Nicodemus came at night. The majority hold to the thought that this was out of fear. If that is the case then the ‘victory of the people’ certainly didn’t behave very victorious! However, his confidence would grow. In 7:50-52 he would be raising doubts about the legitimacy of Jesus’ arrest and of course at the end in 19:38-40 he is with Joseph of Arimathea, a member of his group, taking down the body of Jesus from the cross, embalming it and placing it in Joseph’s tomb. It’s not how you begin that counts but what happens after that.
You may not feel like you ‘fit’ but this may be the beginning of a wonderful chapter for your life.
There will be others asking the same questions as you.
You may be afraid but as you walk focused on getting to know Jesus more then you will grow in confidence.
This is indeed victory and victory for the people!