Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God…
Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?”
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
Though he was a ruler of the Jews, a man who was a teacher himself, Nicodemus had questions. He saw Jesus, he heard Jesus, he watched Jesus’ life but he didn’t quite get it. It made him uncomfortable not to understand what seemed in his mind so very important.
I’d like to think Nicodemus took his job seriously. It was one thing to hold certain ideas for oneself, but what about the people he served? Could he afford to be in the dark and stand before those who looked to him for guidance about God?
Certainty was the trademark arrogance of most in his position. They waxed eloquent over their already settled interpretations and carefully guarded the status quo. No point trying to wonder with them. But there were a few – a few who were really looking for God to speak, so he went at night because he could not NOT know.
Jesus welcomed his questions. That was the whole point. He came to connect the dots.
So it’s like this Nicodemus. You know well the story of Moses and the venomous snakes. The people were in distress. They had sinned and found no escape from dying. Moses was to hold up a bronze serpent. If the bitten person looked up to it, they would live. No one could understand why or how that worked. It just DID work. The looking was simply an act of faith in the one who promised a solution.
Here’s the connection you are seeking. You and all those people you serve are standing in a pit of vipers. You will be bitten and you will die. But God, in his great love, promised a Messiah and sent his Son. Lift the Son up and tell your people to look to him. You, Nicodemus, can be a Moses for your people and for yourself. Looking is simply an act of faith in the one who has promised a Savior. And whoever will believe will gain not only life right now, but for all eternity.
Now go in peace Nicodemus. Now you know. Now you can point the way.
P.S. from me:
Thanks for being brave Nicodemus.