This installment of Monday School is inspired by a man named Nicodemus. I think I love Nicodemus.
The only information we have on him is in the Gospel of John. He was a Pharisee, which means he was a scholar who studied the Law and was intentional in the keeping of it. He was also a member of the Sanhedrin, the ruling body of the Jews. He was highly regarded by the people and, obviously, an influential man.
One night he went to Jesus. John doesn’t give us any insight into why Nicodemus went to Jesus at night. Maybe he doesn’t want the other Pharisees to know. Maybe this was the only time he could speak to Jesus alone. We’re just not sure. But we do know Nicodemus respected Jesus because he called him Rabbi. Nicodemus acknowledged the fact that Jesus was a teacher from God. Then Jesus confronted him with a truth he didn’t understand.
Nicodemus knew a lot, but he didn’t know it all. He did what anyone who wants to know and understand would do. He asked Jesus a question. Then he asked more questions.
Someone I love is doubting what she thought she knew. She’s asking hard questions and I don’t always know the answers.
Her struggle would be unnerving except I know that God knows what is needed to make her faith real and strong. Coming to truly see, treasure, and trust Jesus Christ almost always begins in a crisis, one filled with questions.
I tell her to ask all the questions she needs to. Ask God. Ask me. Ask those she trusts to tell her the truth. Go to the Word with a desire to learn. Tell Jesus what she’s thinking and what she’s doubting.
Because she wants and needs it to be real. And don’t we all?
The last thing we learn of Nicodemus is that he, with Joseph of Arimathea, prepared Jesus’ body for burial. “Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight. So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. John 19:39-40
Nicodemus was brave and humble enough to ask the questions that night in the dark. Then he was brave and humble enough to prepare his friend’s body for the grave.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8
My prayer for those I love is the same one I pray for myself:
God, may we seek you wholedeartedly. Give us a wholehearted devotion to You and cause us to love you with all our hearts, all our souls, all our minds and all our strength.