The WORD in Other Words by Fr John O Mahony SVD (Philippines)
Monday Easter Week 2
Nicodemus might not be a major figure in the story of Jesus but he is not unimportant either. He makes three appearances, all in the Gospel of John.
The first is today ‘s reading. Nicodemus came to Jesus at night. Perhaps as a member of the hostile Jewish ruling class, he did not wish to be seen associating with him. That hardly made him a brave or heroic figure. Nevertheless, he had good will and was attracted to Jesus. Here we hear the wonderful teaching of Jesus concerning God‘s incredible love for the world and for humankind.
Nicodemus is mentioned again in John 7:50—51. When the Jewish rulers were debating what to do about Jesus and how to silence him, Nicodemus spoke in his defense. Would you or I have the courage to speak up at all? Look at how the present day cyber bullies so quickly silence anyone who dares even to ask them a simple question.
Finally, we meet Nicodemus again when he assists Joseph of Arimathea in the burial of Jesus, bringing with him a large amount of the expensive spices used for a Jewish burial (John 19:39). This incident seems to encourage us to see in it an act of devotion and courage in the face of the very hostile atmosphere on that day on Calvary.
Many biblical commentators seem to regard Nicodemus as a rather cowardly and timid figure, an example of the wrong kind of disciple. The average Christian is not always a very brave person though but persists and does grow in faith and love for Jesus. If we continue to grow in faith and love like Nicodemus who knows what acts of heroism we might be capable of through the power of the Spirit?