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Saturday, January 22, 2011

1/23/11 John 3:1-2 Hidden Believers

 1 Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

(Nicodemus and Christ Crjn Hendricksz 1616-1645)

Thoughts: Nicodemus was like those who believed in him because of his signs (2:23; 3:2).  Nicodemus knew Jesus was from God, but he was not an open follower of Christ for fear of others on the ruling council- so he came at night.  In a world in which it is becoming increasingly unpopular to practice the Christian faith- many are hiding their faith by not associating with others in the Church.  The image of being a Christian to the outsider has gone from a person to be admired to a mean-spirited hypocrite.  Too often it is the Christian who is the villain in the murder mystery, the soap opera.  On the other hand, going to church can be a hassle- not just getting up but getting along with people who may think differently.  So, many choose to stay home where it is safe- and the illusion- sinless.  But our Lord calls us out of the darkness of sin, and the darkness of hiding our faith into the light of fellowship ("If we walk in the light as He is in the light we have fellowship with one another" 1 Jn. 1:7).   Jesus said, "If anyone is ashamed of me and my words... I will be ashamed of them before my Father and the holy angels" (Mk. 8:38).  It is one thing to believe in Christ intellectually- it is another to make Him Lord and give Him worship.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to walk in your light and follow you with my whole heart.  Let me never be ashamed of you or hide my light under a bushel.  Instead, help me to shine your light, and to enjoy the fellowship of others who also walk with you in the light.

John Calvin Abridged: In the person of Nicodemus the evangelist illustrates how vain and fleeting is the faith of those who-excited by miracles- claim to be disciples of Christ.  Since he as a ruling Pharisee, he must have been a cut above the average person who believed because of miracles.  Those who occupy a loft station in the world are often entangled by dangerous snares.  He came to Jesus at night because his timidity was excessive and he was dazzled by his own greatness and reputation.  Yet there is a seed of piety in Nicodemus that though laid concealed for a long time bore some fruit after Jesus died (Jn. 19:39).

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