Daily Lent Devotional #26 (4/03/2011)

John 7: 40-52   (The Message)

40-44Those in the crowd who heard these words were saying, “This has to be the Prophet.” Others said, “He is the Messiah!” But others were saying, “The Messiah doesn’t come from Galilee, does he? Don’t the Scriptures tell us that the Messiah comes from David’s line and from Bethlehem, David’s village?” So there was a split in the crowd over him. Some went so far as wanting to arrest him, but no one laid a hand on him.

45That’s when the Temple police reported back to the high priests and Pharisees, who demanded, “Why didn’t you bring him with you?”

46The police answered, “Have you heard the way he talks? We’ve never heard anyone speak like this man.”

47-49The Pharisees said, “Are you carried away like the rest of the rabble? You don’t see any of the leaders believing in him, do you? Or any from the Pharisees? It’s only this crowd, ignorant of God’s Law, that is taken in by him—and damned.”

50-51Nicodemus, the man who had come to Jesus earlier and was both a ruler and a Pharisee, spoke up. “Does our Law decide about a man’s guilt without first listening to him and finding out what he is doing?”

52 But they cut him off. “Are you also campaigning for the Galilean? Examine the evidence. See if any prophet ever comes from Galilee.”

Nicodemus is a very interesting fellow.  His initial encounter with Jesus was recorded in John 3: 1-21.  Not many of the established and powerful Jewish leaders were willing to listen to Jesus’ message, and much fewer were willing to associate with him publicly.  So, Jesus’ first meeting with Nicodemus occurs under the cover of night and secrecy.  From this conversation comes the most well-known verse of The Bible (John 3:16), as well as many other insights into God’s view of our world.

In the passage above, Nicodemus tries to stick up for Jesus; but is shamed into silently consenting to the Sanhedrin’s persecution of Jesus.  After Jesus’ crucifixion, Nicodemus comes to pay his respects (and regrets) for not standing up for Jesus.

After a long and successful career as a priest, professor, and author; Henri Nouwen was called by God to walk away from it all.  After engaging in hands-on ministry with a disabled man; a passion was ignited within him to improve Canada’s care for the physically and mentally handicapped.  This career and life change was met with much skepticism and confusion among his professional friends.  In “The Road To Daybreak”, he honestly explores this transition and his Nicodemus-like tendencies.  I hope you’ll benefit from his perspective and humility.

Nicodemus admired Jesus but was afraid to lose the respect of his own colleagues. I am becoming more and more aware of the importance of looking at these fearful sympathizers because that is the group I find myself mostly gravitating toward.

I love Jesus but want to hold on to my own friends even when they do not lead me closer to Jesus. I love Jesus but want to hold on to my own independence even when that independence brings me no real freedom….I love Jesus but do not want to give up my writing plans, travel plans, and speaking plans, even when these plans are often more to my glory than to the glory of God.

So I am like Nicodemus, who came by night, said safe things about Jesus to his colleagues, and expressed his guilt by bringing to the grave more myrrh and aloes (John 19:39) than needed or desired.

Blessings,

Pastor Josh

Published in: on April 3, 2011 at 6:00 AM  Leave a Comment  
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