A Faith That Grows

I love stories in scripture of faith that progresses in the lives of people who encounter Jesus. We looked at one of those stories last month in John 9. The blind man who Jesus heals changes the way he describes Jesus as the chapter goes on. He calls Jesus a man, then calls Him a prophet and recognizes that He must be from God before finally calling Him Lord towards the end of the chapter. There is a similar faith progression that happens in the life of another person mentioned in a few instances throughout John’s gospel.
We are first introduced to Nicodemus in John 3. He comes to learn from Jesus at night. Although it is not spelled out for us, that timing of his visits with Jesus indicate that he does not want to be seen with Him. Jesus explains to him that a person must be born again to have a new life with God. He is clearly confused by this teaching, but we do not know in chapter 3 if his life is changed.
We next find Nicodemus in John 7. Jesus has gained popularity, but people are divided about who He is and what His teaching and miracles might mean. As the Pharisees are ready to condemn, Nicodemus speaks up in verse 51: “Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?” There are not many people in John’s gospel other than Jesus who challenge the Pharisees. Nicodemus does here.
We last hear about Him in chapter 19 after Jesus is crucified. Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea take the body of Jesus and place Him in the tomb. In verse 39, John reminds us who he is and tells us what he does now. “Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight.”
Nicodemus went from visiting under the cover of darkness, to speaking words of reason in a tense situation to caring for Jesus after His own apostles were nowhere to be found. What changed from chapter 3 to chapter 19? He encountered Jesus. If Jesus could transform Nicodemus so completely, how could He change your life?
“But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” – John 3:21

Leave a Reply