Fourth Sunday of Lent, YR B, 14 March, 2021: 2 Chronicles 36:14-16, 19-23; Ephesians 2:4-10; John 3:14-21
Nicodemus has a literalistic, almost materialistic worldview while straining for something more, something better. Jesus can see this, as well as the great potential in this man, and is respectful, challenging and patient in their discussion, both of them speaking in a manner frank and unthreatened. Jesus knows he has something vital to say, that could lead Nicodemus out of his dead end.
It can’t be insignificant that much later in John’s Gospel, Nicodemus will defend Jesus and, finally, assist at his burial. We are not told how much of Jesus’ teaching he understands, but he has certainly assimilated that truth into his choices. He is unfazed by any loss in the esteem of the conventionally religious.
Isn’t this relevant to our journey through Lent? How often are our intuitions in conflict with the narrow confines of our thinking? How often do we constrain the risks we should take to live out the truth to retain acceptance? When do the boundaries of understanding have to give way to right living? How often would we prefer a Son of God to come into our world to condemn and eliminate those who differ from us, rather than bring eternal life to all?
Or how much would we prefer a neat, mathematical formula of merits and demerits to earn eternal life after we die, rather than the unmerited gift of eternal life beginning now?