Nicodemus & EasterApril 13, 2009
It always surprises me how I can read the same passage in the Bible over and over and still miss small details.
Ironically, our Bible study lesson in Matthew this week was on the crucifixion of Jesus just as we are celebrating Easter and Jesus’ resurrection. This week, we read about Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus preparing Jesus body and burying him in the tomb in Matthew, John and Luke, making notes about Joseph and Nicodemus.
Both Joseph and Nicodemus were members of the Council of the Pharisees that voted for Jesus to be condemned. It is suggested that Joseph and Nicodemus were absent during this meeting since they both disagreed with the Council. And it is likely that both Joseph and Nicodemus were secretly followers of Jesus, a small fact with which the Council would NOT have been pleased.
I never noticed that John 3:16 is a small sermon directed specifically to Nicodemus, given at night, in secrecy from the Council. I’m sure the rest of the Pharisees would not have been happy to know that Nicodemus went directly to Jesus to ask about what it means to be born again.
It is fortunate for us that Nicodemus did have the courage to go ask Jesus and that their conversation was recorded in the Bible. Jesus declares God’s great love for the world, demonstrated by giving his only son, Jesus, so that we may have eternal life. A small sermon given to one man (I wonder if Jesus’ disciples were also present) now contains one of the most memorized Bible verses – “God so love the world, that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”