Friday, 31 August 2012

What do you mean, John 3:16?

Joseph nicodemus

Today is the feast of two great saints: Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea. Neither was involved in the great battles against heresy that mark the lives of so many saints nor were they believed to have been martyred, to have lead ascetic lives or to have had visions or ecstasies. Also, in all likelihood, both were married men - pillars of the Jewish community at the time. Nicodemus was a politician, judge and prominent public figure, while Joseph (believed by some to be none other than Josephus Flavius) was an aristocrat and scholar. If they had LinkedIn profiles, they would come across as regular 1%ers.

Nonetheless, these guys are great examples of following Jesus - and they had the privilege of doing so in person. Nicodemus visiting Jesus in secret at first (John 3:1-21) but then coming out in the open to help Joseph to bury him (John 19:39–42) and Joseph being the one who stepped out of the shadows to petition Pilate for Jesus’s corpse. To my mind, both have shown great courage to place themselves at Jesus’s side under risky circumstances, putting their good standing and reputation at risk by associating themselves with a convicted and executed criminal. While that may not be asked of me, I see them as examples for taking Jesus’s side also when it is uncomfortable in the eyes of society.


Nicodemus can't be mentioned without a nod to Wyclef Jean's “John 3 16,” where “pig couldn't fly straight so you die in your sleep; I stay awake only to see Nicodemus.” Here you can find the lyrics and the song itself.