Scripture: John 3
A flashlight can be a fun thing to play with, but it’s also a very useful tool.
If you had to go out after dark looking for something or someone, a flashlight would be very helpful, wouldn’t it? Today, I want to tell you about someone who went looking for something after dark – someone who, if he had had one, might have used a flashlight. His name was Nicodemus, and he was looking for a very important person: Jesus.
Like many people who heard Jesus speak, Nicodemus was intrigued by Jesus’ teachings. He wanted to know more about who Jesus was and what he had to say. But Nicodemus was afraid to go and see Jesus in the daytime. Why? Because Nicodemus was one of the Pharisees, and the Pharisees, as a rule, did not like Jesus.
The Pharisees were a crooked and greedy group. They were entrusted with teaching the Word of God to God’s people, but they had become corrupted by their own power. So when Jesus showed up, the Pharisees did everything they could to discredit him without bothering to listen.
But Nicodemus did listen, and a lot of what Jesus said made sense to him. Still, Nicodemus was afraid to be seen talking to Jesus because of his position. So Nicodemus went to see Jesus after dark, late at night.
It’s not always popular to be a fan of Jesus. You’ve likely encountered other people who don’t believe in Jesus. Some may even mock or laugh at those who do believe. It’s tempting to stay quiet and hide our faith around people like that, but Jesus doesn’t want us to hide. Jesus loves those who mock just as much as he loves us, and he wants us to shine our light in this dark world.
There’s a neat ending to Nicodemus’ story that comes much later. After Jesus was crucified, a man named Joseph claimed Jesus’ body and buried it in his family tomb. Guess who helped him to bury Jesus? Nicodemus! Even after all the disciples but one had abandoned Jesus, Nicodemus came forward to help bury the man he had come to believe in as a saviour. He was no longer afraid because he had come to believe what Jesus had told him was true.
One of the things that Jesus told Nicodemus is probably the first verse you ever learned. Nicodemus’ story comes from John 3, and right in the middle of that chapter is John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him will not die, but have eternal life.”
Jesus died for Nicodemus, for the Pharisees, for us, and for those who would make fun of our beliefs. If we hide our faith, we might spare ourselves some embarrassment, but we’d be keeping a secret the world desperately needs to hear!