March 14, 2012

4th Sunday of Lent - B (March 18, 2012)


Light and Darkness

One of the ways to better understand Jesus' words to Nicodemus here is to look at the setting of their conversation.

In John 3:1, Nicodemus is described as "a Pharisee and a ruler of the Jews." Yet, he comes to Jesus "at night" (v. 2).

Why would a religious leader and a ruler of the people have to do something at night?

There have been various attempts to interpret Nicodemus' motivation. The author of this gospel, however, makes no mention of any reason why Nicodemus comes to meet Jesus at night.

Nevertheless, to the one who has come to meet him at night, Jesus says, "The light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed. But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God" (v. 19-21).

Later on in John's gospel, at the moment of Jesus' death, Nicodemus would come forward publicly, "bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about one hundred pounds" for the burial of the crucified Jesus. He no longer does things "at night" (19: 39-40).

How do I measure up to the challenging words of Jesus in this passage?

Am I moving from darkness to light like Nicodemus?

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