I love how the apostle John weaves the story of Nicodemus through his book. Jesus goes about doing good, spreading seeds, preparing the world for His death and resurrection. Despite the rejection of many, Jesus brings Nicodemus through the process of relationship with a beginning, a middle and an end.
John tells us that Nicodemus was a ruler among the Jews. Because of this, he is timid about approaching Jesus when so many people are around to see. Instead he comes under the cover of darkness. The darkness is not only around him but also in his knowledge of spiritual things. Yet the Father draws him by the words and works of Jesus. In John 3, his conversation with Jesus is recorded. He learns about another birth, the working of the Spirit and the great love of God in giving His Son for man to have everlasting life.
In the Middle
In John 7 we find Nicodemus again. As the Jews at the synagogue look to their leaders for knowledge of the Christ, Nicodemus stands for truth. He stands amid the jealousy and anger of the Jewish leaders wanting to be rid of Him. He calls them to remember the laws of Moses. “Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?” In Deuteronomy Moses commanded they hear the cases between their brethren, not only those of the small but the great as well. He also commanded, “you shall not be afraid in any man’s presence, for the judgement is God’s.” Their response? They chose the way of the world by trying to diminish him, “Are you also from Galilee? Search and look for no prophet has arisen out of Galilee.”
Although any relationship with Jesus is an everlasting one, there is an end to the story of Nicodemus in John’s book. In chapter 19, Jesus has been crucified. Now those who loved Him came to care for His body. Nicodemus brought about 100 lbs. of myrrh and aloes and helped Joseph of Arimathea in preparing the body of Jesus for burial. Jesus made an impact on the life of this man. There was a starting place, and the journey continued. When others were caught up trying to decide who He was, worrying about how He threatened their beliefs and careers, Nicodemus sought Him out, asked the questions, searched the truth, stood for the truth and in the end loved the man.
Much purpose thrives amid process. In the process of ministry of Jesus, there was Nicodemus learning and growing along with countless others who learned to love the man who is God’s Son. What encouragement this offers as we work to share the love of Jesus. God works the process. Despite the rejection of many, Jesus brings Nicodemus, through the process of relationship, with a beginning, a middle and an end.