The Gospel of John tells us that Nicodemus “came to Jesus by night” (John 3:2). Why do you suppose he came by night? Some reasons suggested have been:
- The Pharisee was embarrassed or ashamed that he, one of the ruling class, was curious about Jesus.
- It was cooler at night.
- There were fewer distractions at night.
- Evening was when work responsibilities were over.
We really don’t know the reason Nicodemus came to see Jesus by night, but John seemed to make a big deal out of that. When he later referred to Nicodemus he said, “he who came to Jesus by night,” as if that would identify him (Acts 7:50 & 19:39).
Whatever Nicodemus’s reason at the time, I think we can draw from the story that Nicodemus was living in darkness and came to see He wh0 was “the light of the world” (John 8:12).
Those of us who are in darkness today can surely see the light if we seek Jesus.
Tags: darkness, light, Nicodemus, night
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4).
In this verse David moves into another word picture, walking through the valley of the shadow of death. Both ‘valley’ and ‘shadow’ are referring to emotions we feel at troubled times in our lives. We’ve all been through that valley and out on the other side. Fortunately, on the other side of every valley is a another mountain top. We don’t dare get stuck in the valley as some people do. I remember an aged lady in Betz’s Nursing Home whose husband had divorced her years ago. She still talks bitterly about it. She is stuck in the valley. David reminds himself (and us) that no matter how dark it gets in that valley, he doesn’t have to fear evil, because God is with him.
The other element that carries him through the valley is that the Shepherd’s rod and staff comfort him in the journey. The rod and staff were the two purposes of the shepherd’s staff that the Good Shepherd used in caring for the sheep. The crooked end of the staff was used for rescuing sheep which might fall over a precipice. The rod was the disciplinary use of the staff when a lamb became a stinker. Both of these were there to give comfort to David.
When was the last time you considered the Lord’s chastening a comfort to you?
Tags: comfort, darkness, discipline, shadow, valley
Christmas Eve! These verses from the Christmas story come to mind: “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks by night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them” (Luke 2:8-9). We don’t know what time of day Jesus was born, but we do know the time the angel appeared to announce His birth: “at night”.
I think the significance of this is that we live in a dark, ungodly world. Jesus is the Light of the World clouded in darkness. The shepherds had no problem seeing the angel in the dark, so it must have been enlightened, as well.
When we’ve made room for Jesus, the whole world around us becomes enlightened because of the light that resides within us. Have an enlightened Christmas.
Tags: Christmas, darkness, light