UCOG Blog Logo
News and views from the German-language region of Europe

December 18, 2020

Where is everyone?

Filed under Sabbath Thoughts

The Gospels tell us about people who were ready to follow Jesus right away when Jesus called them. But there were others whose response to Jesus extended over a comparatively long time, so to speak. Nicodemus is an example of this, whom we meet in more than one place in the Gospels.

We first meet Nicodemus when he comes to Jesus at night, presumably because he doesn't want anyone seeing him asking Jesus questions. When Jesus enlightened him about being "born" as a spirit being, Nicodemus asked, "How can these things be?" (John 3:9). Nicodemus had only questions. People often have a deep longing, a sense that there must be more to life, that there is some great truth they have not yet discovered. Perhaps that was what Nicodemus experienced when he first approached Jesus.

Later, Nicodemus tried to defend Jesus by saying to the other Pharisees, "Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?" (John 7:51).

Finally, we read of Nicodemus accompanying Joseph of Arimathea to ask Pilate for the body of Jesus. He brought with him about one hundred pounds of aloes and myrrh. Together, the two men took Jesus' body down from the cross, carried it to the tomb, and wrapped it with spices and linen for burial (see John 19:38-39).

Nicodemus did all this with Joseph at great personal risk to his reputation and safety. Don't you think this must have taken courage? But what kept Nicodemus from embracing Jesus wholeheartedly? It seems that he worried for quite some time about what people would think of him. He did, after all, come to Jesus by night at their first meeting.

Nicodemus was certainly a wise and learned man, but often it seems that the uneducated came to Jesus more willingly than the educated. We do not know what happened to Nicodemus later. Did he later become a Christian?

He certainly received a witness.

We experience the same situation today in preaching the Gospel. Since January 1998, almost 22,000 people have subscribed to our Gute Nachrichten magazine and then later canceled their subscription. Among them were many who read for several years, some donated, in a few cases even donated quite a lot. But then they turned away again. However, they all received a witness that they will remember in the future.

Unlike Nicodemus and our former subscribers, we are "on board" as Jesus disciples. We have received more than just a witness. Therefore, we must take Peter's exhortation seriously: "Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 1:10-11).

With these thoughts I wish everyone a rewarding Sabbath!

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


internal links:


search blog: