RSS

Nicodemus Part 2 — John 7:32, 45-52

04 May

John 7:32, 45-52
32 When the Pharisees heard that the crowds were whispering such things, they and the leading priests sent Temple guards to arrest Jesus.

45 When the Temple guards returned without having arrested Jesus, the leading priests and Pharisees demanded, “Why didn’t you bring him in?”
46 “We have never heard anyone speak like this!” the guards responded.
47 “Have you been led astray, too?” the Pharisees mocked. 48 “Is there a single one of us rulers or Pharisees who believes in him? 49 This foolish crowd follows him, but they are ignorant of the law. God’s curse is on them!”
50 Then Nicodemus, the leader who had met with Jesus earlier, spoke up. 51 “Is it legal to convict a man before he is given a hearing?” he asked.
52 They replied, “Are you from Galilee, too? Search the Scriptures and see for yourself—no prophet ever comes from Galilee!”

Dear God, I kind of missed something in yesterday’s journal that I want to touch on before I get into this passage today. What was the context within which Nicodemus talked to Jesus at night back in chapter 3? Well, according to John, Jesus was in Jerusalem for the Passover, and he had just cleared the temple of the money changers and such and had told the “Jews” who asked for a miracle that if they destroyed “this temple” he would raise it again in three days. Nicodemus was just trying to make sense of what he was seeing and hearing.

32 When the Pharisees heard that the crowds were whispering such things, they and the leading priests sent Temple guards to arrest Jesus.

Now, for this part of the story, we find Nicodemus again. Jesus goes back to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles and he upsets the Pharisees. So much so that by the time we get to verse 32 they decide to send temple guards to arrest him.

45 When the Temple guards returned without having arrested Jesus, the leading priests and Pharisees demanded, “Why didn’t you bring him in?”
46 “We have never heard anyone speak like this!” the guards responded.
47 “Have you been led astray, too?” the Pharisees mocked. 48 “Is there a single one of us rulers or Pharisees who believes in him? 49 This foolish crowd follows him, but they are ignorant of the law. God’s curse is on them!”

It wasn’t that the guards couldn’t arrest Jesus. They intentionally chose not to. And they admitted as much to the Pharisees. And the Pharisees’ response? They basically tell the guards that God’s curse is on them and John tells us they ask an interesting question: “Is there a single one of us rulers or Pharisees who believes in him?” In showing their intellectual and spiritual superiority while shaming the guards, they push Nicodemus to a moral dilemma that pushes him just a little out of hiding.

50 Then Nicodemus, the leader who had met with Jesus earlier, spoke up. 51 “Is it legal to convict a man before he is given a hearing?” he asked.

No, it’s not the strongest defense in the world, but it’s enough of an admission of sympathy to reveal some of his inner feelings to his fellow Pharisees. He’s been completely in the closet up until now. He met with Jesus in chapter 3 at night, when no one knew about it. But now he couldn’t keep silent any longer. He was trying to do it in a way that wouldn’t completely reveal his hand. He brought in “the law.” But just saying even the slightest thing in Jesus’s defense provoked their wrath.

52 They replied, “Are you from Galilee, too? Search the Scriptures and see for yourself—no prophet ever comes from Galilee!”

The Pharisees are so flabbergasted by Nicodemus’s defense of Jesus that they accuse him of being a “homer.” They see that he has sympathy for Jesus and their only explanation is to accuse him not of believing in Jesus, but of hoping for the best for him for other emotional reasons.

So in looking back on this story, Nicodemus is on a journey of faith. He is working it out with literal fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). He tested the waters in this story, and he got smacked down. Did he fail Jesus? Perhaps? Did he ultimately decided on this day to save his own skin rather than argue with his colleagues? Yes. But he definitely progressed on his journey. He hadn’t arrived yet. He hadn’t entered into a stage of worship that would cause him to risk it all out of his love for you and belief in Jesus. He did, however, grow and prepare himself for a day that would ask more from him.

Father, help me to be a little better today than I was yesterday. Help me to have eyes to see my own weaknesses and address them. Give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

Nicodemus Part 1
Nicodemus Part 3

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 4, 2019 in John, Nicodemus

 

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: