Summary: read the passage in John 3... the sermon will be preached in the first person. Nicodemus will tell his story and give his testimony.
Title: those o so famous words…
John 3: 1Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.”
John 7: 48ff
40On hearing his words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet.”
41Others said, “He is the Christ.”
Still others asked, “How can the Christ come from Galilee? 42Does not the Scripture say that the Christ will come from David’s family? And from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?” 43Thus the people were divided because of Jesus. 44Some wanted to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him.
45Finally the temple guards went back to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, “Why didn’t you bring him in?”
46“No one ever spoke the way this man does,” the guards declared.
47“You mean he has deceived you also?” The Pharisees retorted. 48“Has any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed in him? 49No! But this mob that knows nothing of the law—there is a curse on them.”
50Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus earlier and who was one of their own number, asked, 51“Does our law condemn anyone without first hearing him to find out what he is doing?”
52They replied, “Are you from Galilee, too? Look into it, and you will find that a prophet? Does not come out of Galilee.”
John 19:38-ff 38Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. 39He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds.? 40Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. 41At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. 42Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.
Nicodemus; (in the first person)
Good morning my name is Nicodemus. My name may not mean much to you, but in my culture--the Jewish culture of the first century a.d. 32, it was a very common name. I am very respected in my nation of Israel as a religious leader and symbol of authority--at least I was until I met Jesus...
As I said I had a position of power--I was a Pharisee--or in your language a "bishop" in the religious world. But not only that I was also a member of the ruling council--the Sanhedrin . It was our responsibility to preside over all religious matters for our people. This was very important because it meant we were responsible for the correct interpretation of the holy scriptures--and we took our responsibility very seriously. I thought we were doing fine. But often I was in situations that I must admit were not handled very honestly.
And we always had such difficulty obeying the law--it seemed impossible --but yet we must try. After all, if we wanted to serve God, we had to obey his law--but why was it so difficult?
Sometimes I ever felt like quitting religion altogether, but then it was really my whole life...
Then, a few years ago, a simple man came on the scene--he looked the same as the rest of us--but he was different. He oozed love and compassion for everyone he met. He talked in some religious ways, but he was very different in his approach from the rest of us religious leaders.
The people seemed drawn to him. He became very popular--at least for a while. But I’m getting ahead of my story...
My colleagues and I decided to watch this character--for in some ways he was a threat to us. We didn't quite know how to deal with him. Often in fact he seemed to put us in our place. Some of the Sanhedrin members were very tough on him--accusing him and tried to back him into a corner. He always had an answer for them. Mostly I just listened-- I guess you would call me a thinker. Sometimes I was quite passive--but when I made up my mind about something, I acted upon it.
Well, after sizing up Jesus for some time--about a year I guess it was-- I decided he was for real and that he had something that I needed to consider.
So, one night I finally mustered enough courage to pay Jesus a personal visit. As I walked through the streets of old Jerusalem, in the cool night air, I was alone with my thoughts as the city slept. I was still nervous that someone might see me with Jesus--what would they think?