“I trusted in the Lord when I said, ‘I am greatly afflicted’; in my alarm I said, ‘Everyone is a liar’” (Psalm 116:10-11).
The Bible last mentions Nicodemus after the death of Jesus. Together with fellow Sanhedrin member, Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus cared for the body of the crucified Savior, placing the Lord’s remains in Joseph’s tomb. By doing this, both men defied the Sanhedrin and Pharisees by treating Jesus’ body with dignity and assuring that He received a proper burial. I believe the Bible depicts Nicodemus as having a wise, inquiring mind, and I don’t believe that he was satisfied with the legalism of the Pharisees. So, Nicodemus summoned up the courage to seek out Jesus for himself. I have come to regard Nicodemus in a whole new way, and that, I consider to be a loving gift from heaven above.
“Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. 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. At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there” (John 19:38-42).
When I received the vision that I wrote about previously in which God clearly exclaimed not to close His doors, the Holy Spirit took me to the encounter between Jesus and Nicodemus in John 3, and at the time, I didn’t understand the focus on Nicodemus. Now, fast forward several weeks, and of course there’s pride lurking in my flesh seeking validation, but I don’t care about that. What I do care about is that yes, Romans 3:4 will come to pass and to God be all the glory when it does pass. I find I must stop doubting God, if I hope to continue to grow in the gifts He has entrusted me. I also find I must trust God to direct my steps to those who might listen. I’ll share something with you here, which I only recently came to see, I believe that God was likening Nicodemus’ lingering doubts and fears and pressures that night with my own, but also to Nicodemus’ earnest yearning to truly know God. So yes, I think I’m finally beginning to understand how the account of Nicodemus visiting Jesus fits into the vision. God used it as a method to minister to me too. God often unravels these things over time; no doubt, because I can be dense, and of course, there is His perfect timing of things.
It is interesting how John 3 keeps coming up, because I wrote on social media this morning, again, about how it has become common to stop reading Jesus’ words mid thought, and the scriptures I had in mind were Matthew 7:1 and John 3:16.
I’ll share that post here as well, picking up at Matthew 7:1:
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.”
The Jesus continues in verse two…
“For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Now it’s a more complete thought that sets the basis for what He says next. Not just the part of Jesus’ words that suits, to be twisted and distorted, but rather, how to judge rightly.
Go read John 3:16 too, and then keep reading until Jesus finishes His thought there as well. It’s mazing and frightening how so many professing Christians have distorted that one too, and worse yet, teach others to do the same. Scripture talks about such people, and what will happen to them. You may not have chosen to be blinded, but you most certainly choose to remain that way (2 Corinthians 4:4).
“I trusted in the Lord when I said, ‘I am greatly afflicted’; in my alarm I said, ‘Everyone is a liar’” (Psalm 116:10-11). While both Joseph of Arimathea, as well as Nicodemus, were influenced by fear, and surely both men stumbled, neither not so far as to fall outside God’s grasp (John 10:28). Therefore, considering my own mistakes along the way, I thank God for another truth from Romans: “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?” (2:4). Further, I’ll close by sharing a meme I ran across a few days ago, as an encouraging word for the children of God: “You’re not lost, you’re just early in the process.” It has a definite Philippians 2:12-13 feel, when read in this context. Through Christ, there is hope for us all! Hallelujah!
Oh wait! One more thing! Mother’s Day shout outs to my mother, as well as to (her mother) my grandmother. Besides sharing Jesus with me, which is the greatest gift a parent can pass on to a child, both of these fine women taught me endurance via their examples (My mother is still with us, but my grandmother has gone to be with the Lord). Funny thing about them, growing up, I remember they are/were the ones the family often mistook for being weak, when in reality, they are/were stronger than everyone else… I needed to acknowledge that about them. Moral of the story to parents who wonder whether their children are paying attention, because of circumstances in the present, your kids are watching, but it takes some of us a decade or two, or three, to recognize and understand. I was a hard headed child lol. So parents, don’t give up!
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