Yesterday I taught on the story of Nicodemus meeting Jesus during the night. The famous verse we get from this story is John 3:16.
One thing I realized in teaching this passage is that Nicodemus knew all of the prophecies of Jesus. He knew Isaiah’s suffering servant. He knew the prophecy from Genesis “You will strike his heal but he will crush your head.” Listening to Jesus explain being “born again.” Must have been so confusing and yet exciting at the same time.
However, what Jesus was asking Nicodemus to do was leave all he knew behind to be true. Nicodemus was a Pharisee. He was a Jewish leader. He was influential. So publicly acknowledging he believed Jesus was the Christ would have upended the life he knew.
I wonder what happened of Nicodemus. We know he accompanied Joseph of Arimathea to wrap Jesus’ body in the tomb. Which tells us that Nicodemus wasn’t alone in his fear of the ruling religious leaders. But it also tells us he wasn’t alone.
What Jesus asks us to do daily often bucks against all we know to be true. Our acknowledgement of him is not popular among many circles. Living out the spirit-filled life isn’t popular among many religious leaders, who’d rather us be abrasive and mean-spirited. It isn’t popular among the unbelieving who’d rather us believe nothing except what they are feeding us.
The point is this – following Jesus is disruptive. But being born again is necessary to see “the kingdom of God.” Whenever we feel alone in this journey, remember there is a Joseph of Arimathea who is nervous about this too. Let us link up arms “the few” and love like Christ loved despite the repercussions.