Throughout Chapter 7 we have seen the confusion, conflict and opposition over the Deity of Christ. Some have believed in Jesus, others are hostile. Some have defended Him whilst others wanted Him arrested. The people are clearly divided. Today’s reading we see the full intensity and conflict about Jesus and especially the unbelief of the Jewish leaders who looked down on others and those they sent to arrest Jesus. The temple guards had been sent by the chief priests and Pharisees to arrest Jesus however they could find no evidence to arrest Him and were in fact amazed at His teaching and authority. They recognised He was not a mere man! The Pharisees were probably exasperated and angry when the temple guards returned without Jesus. They were the elite group who thought they knew the truth and had it all right! However in doing so they were rejecting the truth of Jesus. The Pharisees are implying no important people like them believe in Him, only this mob who know nothing about the law. This is where we see the boldness of Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council (3:1) and a “secret believer”. He challenged the Pharisees about their own failure to keep the law and for the council to give Jesus the right to a fair hearing rather than just being judged and arrested before knowing all the facts. Nicodemus had learned the truth from his first meeting with Jesus and obeyed Gods word. He risked losing his high position and reputation but knew it was right to stand up for Jesus. The Pharisees reply sarcastically to Nicodemus are you a lowly despised Galilean? and identify Jesus with Galilee they challenge Nicodemus to search for prophets from Galilee. If they had fully examined the evidence they would have known Jesus Christ is the Messiah Gods only Son.
Reading these verses brings sadness and feeling sorry for them. In their pride they are missing the point and responding in the wrong way to Jesus. God’s truth is available to all. Do we ever look down on people who are not yet Christians, because we have come to our senses? Are we like the Pharisees or do we want to be like Nicodemus who after an encounter with Jesus was willing to stand up for justice?
May we open our hearts and minds to Jesus and be like Nicodemus knowing the truth, obeying His word and speaking boldly for Jesus. We thank God for bringing us from darkness into light and pray for those in darkness to come to Jesus and know the light.” Amen