Friday, March 21, 2008

Night and Day

We attended the Good Friday Service at our church this evening. The service was simple. It was really just portions of scripture combined with worship and communion. As the passage about Jesus death was being read, I saw something I'd never noticed before. After Jesus died, Joseph of Arimethea (a secret disciple who was intimidated by the Jews) went to Pilate and asked for Jesus' body. Nicodemus helped with the embalming of Jesus body by bringing 75 pounds of spice. The story mentioned, seemingly in passing that it was the same Nicodemus that came to Jesus by night (Jn 3) who now came in the day. I couldn't help but notice the contrast between Joseph and Nicodemus. Joseph was a secret disciple and only Jesus and perhaps a handful of others knew of his faith.

Nicodemus on the other hand had come to Jesus by night, but now came to minister to him by day. It seems to me that we all come to Jesus by night in the sense that we come to the realization of our need to him at a dark point in our lives. We may not be in a crisis as such but the realization of our need underlines our own personal darkness and confirms our need of the Saviour. Something obviously shifted in Nicodemus's life that moved him from seeking and following under cover of darkness to stepping out to serve in the light of day. Admittedly, his particular service in this context was to bring 75 pounds of spices that would be used to embalm the body of Jesus, but the Lord had need of those spices for the next 3 days and so someone had to bring them. I expect that he might have felt funny, perhaps even at risk, as he delivered the sack of spices to the tomb that Joseph had provided, but God knew what he was doing with Nicodemus.

The world needs more Nicodemus like disciples who move from being night seekers to day followers. We need 'spice carriers' who will deliver a sweet fragrance into places of darkness and death while God does an unseen work on behalf of many lives that are invisible at the time. We need followers who will risk ridicule and rejection for the sake of obedience.

Are you up to the task?


Danica said...

Oh wow, thank-you for that. I happened to be reading the story in John last week, of Nicodemus' night-time encounter with Jesus. All week long I've been pondering a statement Jesus made after their conversation about being born again. He said "Yet instead of facing the evidence and accepting it, you procrastinate with questions."

Yet, he was kind enough to answer the questions.

I procrastinate with questions - as you know, I think. Anyway, I'm in a transition time now, God is doing something here with me. And I'm grateful that he answered all my questions, even though I took a long time to ask them all. I guess I liken Nicodemus' night time enquiries to my long, quiet learning time.

I had missed the connection with Nicodemus bringing the spices - ministering to him in the day. I'm excited to do that now too.

Happy Easter to you and the whole Schindel clan!

Tim said...

The contrasts in this passage are amazing to me. You have Jesus carrying the cross, an instrument of torture and death while Nicodemus carries spices that bring fragrance, beauty and flavor. Then there is Joseph 'a secret disciple' and Nicodemus who used to be a secret follower, but now puts himself in a place that event the disciples won't dare to go.

You have to wonder what happened in Nicodemus to transform his following.