Friday, July 25, 2008

Words of Encouragement

They were preparing for what seemed like the end, the setting of the "Son". He has given his blood for the offering for man's sin. Yet this is not the end, it is only the beginning. The "Son" would soon rise! Have you allowed the "Son" the rise in your life?

No! But this mob that knows nothing of the law—there is a curse on them." Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus earlier and who was one of their own number, asked, "Does our law condemn anyone without first hearing him to find out what he is doing?" - John 7:49-51

Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews. With Pilate's permission, he came and took the body away. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus' body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. - John 19:38-40

Nicodemus. From Night to Light. The first scripture is during the time the Pharisees were seeking to get Jesus and we see Nicodemus step forward and defend Jesus by asking the question of doesn't he get a chance to speak for himself.

In the last scripture we see Nicodemus stepping up with one of the disciples of Jesus (who had not been one openly for fear) to seek his body to prepare it for burial. This same Nicodemus that had come to Jesus under the cloak and veil of night comes opening to seek Jesus. He comes this time not to ask questions but to give unto Jesus.

He comes this time bringing gifts. He comes bringing a gift of myrrh just as the wise men had done at the birth of Jesus. This time it is for the burial of Jesus. He comes to service Jesus out of his own wealth.

The scripture does not tell us that Nicodemus had become a follower of Jesus, yet we can see that something about his late night talk with Jesus changed something in him. He had not rejected Jesus. He defended him in front of the chief priest when before he didn't even want any of them to know he was seeking Jesus. He had become a secret friend to Jesus, even if he had not become a constant follower.

He comes openly to ask for Jesus' body to prepare him, when Jesus' own close disciples that walked with him were no where to be seen because of the fear of what may happen to those that followed. These two that were afraid to be known to have relationship with Jesus in life, became those willing to be associated with him in his death.

It would seem to me that something did indeed change in Nicodemus. He went from the fear of what others would think to being bold in his stand. He went from the night to the light. He went from an encounter with Jesus to serving him. He served Jesus in this capacity, that he was willing to come and prepare his body for burial.

What then can we learn from Nicodemus? It becomes an encouragement to know that words spoken to individuals about being born again are not always falling on deaf ears. Sometimes individuals can walk away and it would seem that is the end of the story. Yet, God has not finished the work on them. He is working something out in that individual. They may have come asking questions in the night and God is working to bring them to the light.

While they may not have been willing to show relationship with Jesus openly, there is coming a time when they will be bold in their commitment to his death. The will come and boldly serve him from all that they have.

Again, while we do not have that a conversion happened in Nicodemus, we can see that a work was going on. It is also an encouragement to us not to give up on people.

God has his way of working out the process that sometimes take time. It is our responsibility to keep praying that God's words he speaks to them in the "night", in their hidden states would grow and come to full growth. When one day they can step into the light, into the Light of Christ.

I pray for us today. Lord, you are worth all our praise and worship. Lord thank you for taking the time to teach us and to reach out to us in our darkened state. It was not our own doing but you reaching to us that we too were changed. When we go to worship this week, help us to be an example of Jesus for someone seeking you.