John 3:1-21, 7:40-52, 19:38-42
Nicodemus is a fascinating dude. We see him first in John 3, sneaking in to see Jesus at night. He’s a respected religious leader of high social standing. He wants to know more about this itinerant preacher, but Jesus is a controversial figure, so Nicodemus comes at night. They talk. Nicodemus asks questions and Jesus answers. When Nicodemus can’t make sense of Jesus’ response, the LORD calls him to the ropes. ‘If you, the righteous elite don’t get it, how could anybody else?’ asserts Jesus. Nicodemus undoubtedly leaves befuddled, but Jesus doesn’t push him, nor does He call him out, exposing their meeting to the general public.
Instead, Nicodemus goes home and stews on it. A debate occurs some time later amongst the Jews. People are saying there is no way Jesus could be the Messiah. Nicodemus isn’t sold. He wants to hear more. We can only imagine that Nicodemus is asking around, maybe staying at the back of the crowd while Jesus is making his rounds about Israel. We don’t know if they ever talked again. We don’t see any other reference to Nicodemus until after Jesus is dead.
When Jesus’ body is taken down from the cross, Nicodemus is there, helping anoint him with oil. He gets it. Some would say, ‘too late,’ but it is never too late with God. Three days later, Jesus resurrected and Nicodemus undoubtedly is ready.
You see, for some, coming to acknowledge Jesus is LORD is a quick thing. You’re at a big event or stumble into church or listening to the radio, the preacher makes an altar call, and bam! you’re a believer. For others, it’s a long process. Sometimes, it takes the entirety of their earthly lives; but there is no time for God, only opportunity. The door is open. The invitation is waiting. Will you say, ‘yes,’ to Him?
“Sorry to unload on you like that,” he said
“I’m glad you did,” I said,
“So many times we go through life,
carrying burdens, situations
not knowing who we can share it with
but not quite able to bear the burdens ourselves.
We lose sleep, become stressed
because we feel all alone.
Yes, we talk to God and that is a great place to start,
but we still fear the judgement of others.
It’s not until we tell another human being
and they meet us with open hearts and minds
that we can begin to lay our burden down-
or, rather, finally have someone
to carry that burden along
til the carrying is done.”
The other day I bought a homeless man a guitar.
He promised he’d do all kinds of good things with it,
you know, to sell his worthiness to me.
But I didn’t buy it for that reason,
I bought it cuz he wanted a guitar.
I haven’t heard from him since the transaction,
but a pastor friend tells me he plays it all the time.
DO what is good, not because of the outcome
but because it is good.
Sometimes, it pays off in ways
you could never have imagined.
Some of my favorite things:
-Jesus Christ (glimpses of the depth of His love and mercy, plus whispers from the Holy Spirit)
-Exercise (soccer, weights, read-walks, running, hiking)
-Sunshine (the warmer, the better)
-Food (esp. Mexican, Japanese, and phở, plus In-n-Out)
-People (all walks of life, whoever wants to have a good conversation)
-Music (esp. 70’s folk, Hillsong, show tunes, and the Wheeland Brothers)
-Nature (esp. mountain forests and ocean adventures)
What are some of yours?
There are the things we talk about.
Then, there are the things we wish we could talk about.
It’s in the moments when we safely experience the latter
that we truly feel free.
Driving home late at night,
I think the conversation we had
I really could have talked for hours
thank you for your open heart
There is a time for much company,
for cross-table chats and boisterous behavior;
then there is time for small rooms, intimate ventures,
quiet, soulful conversations
Now, I think, is the time for the latter