Our journey with Jesus through our Lenten wilderness continues this second Sunday of Lent with a reading from John 3:1-17. The central character of this episode is a prominent Jewish leader named Nicodemus. His prominence in the community is noted, inversely, by the fact that he must come to see Jesus “at night.” Indeed, strange and unsettling events often happen under the cover of night. Cars are stolen and fences are crossed and windows are busted out. The sun’s departure invites all manner of tomfoolery in this broken world.
But sometimes the Holy happens upon us at night, too. In John 3, the darkness provides a prominent religious leader the careful cover he needs to have the kind of open, searching, curious, and even agnostic conversation he cannot have in the daytime. Persons of some prominence often lead fairly settled lives because of their settled roles and the settled expectations placed upon them by those among whom they are protuberant. But Jesus’s ministry, particularly his healings, has prompted lots of unsettling questions for Mr. Nick, who seeks out the young, potent Preacher at great risk to his settled religious reputation. Thanks to the gospel of John, we get to listen in on their conversation.
What questions are you carrying through this Lenten season, ones perhaps you can only reveal under the cover of Jesus’ patient and listening grace?
See you Sunday, saints. RWH