When They Prayed
FROM THE BISHOP DAVID GRAVES   I chose the theme of our 2023 Annual Conference session, “When They Prayed,” based on Acts 4:31: “And when they had prayed, the place in which they ...
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Which Nicodemus are we?

March 16, 2020

After dark one night a Jewish religious leader named Nicodemus, a member of the sect of the Pharisees, came for an interview with Jesus. “Sir,” he said, “we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miracles are proof enough of this.” John 3:1-2 (NLT)

After dark. Not during the day, but after dark, when others would not see him, Nicodemus came to Jesus. Something in Nicodemus’ heart pulled him toward Jesus. He recognized that Jesus represented God, but he didn’t understand how or why. He wanted to know more, but he was afraid that the other religious leaders would not understand his curiosity, his interest in Jesus. He waited until after dark when he wouldn’t be seen, when he wouldn’t have to explain why he was drawn to this person who wasn’t willing to abide by the religious rules of purity. He waited until after dark so that he didn’t have to worry about the politicians questioning his loyalty to the government when someone noticed that he was spending time with a person who was being called the Messiah – the one who would overthrow Rome and return the country to local, religious rule. He waited until after dark so as to not have to explain himself or put himself in danger from any side. He waited until dark so that he felt safe.

This passage is the first time we encounter Nicodemus in the gospel of John. The last time we find Nicodemus’ name used in John is in the story of Jesus’ burial. In John 19:39, we find these words: Nicodemus, the man who had come to Jesus at night, came too, bringing a hundred pounds of embalming ointment made from myrrh and aloes.” (NLT) Nicodemus was now brave enough to step out into the light of day and help with the body of the crucified Jesus. He was not worried about being seen. He was not worried about safety or his future. He was not worried about being considered unclean. He was willing to be known as a follower of Jesus, even after his crucifixion.

Lent is a time of self-examination. It is a time for us to consider our hearts and be held accountable for the parts of our lives that want to pull us into the darkness, the parts that want us to follow Jesus as long as no one objects or no one finds reason to misunderstand. As we journey through Lent, may we all be drawn more and more into the light of Christ so that we are willing to be seen as his follower no matter what others may think.

Dr. Nita Crump serves as Director of Connectional Ministries. Contact her at nitac@sgaumc.com.

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