This Sunday will be our second go at John 3 in 3 months. In March, during Lent, the emphasis was on Jesus' crucifixion as the antidote for sin's poison. Just as Moses lifted a serpent before the Hebrews when they were bitten by poisonous snakes and, in their looking upon the lifted one, they were healed (Numbers 21:4-9), so Jesus, lifted on the cross, would be the source of salvation for those who looked upon (or, since, recognized their dependence upon) him.
This weekend we get the backstory. We learn in John 3:1-17 that Nicodemus was trying to figure Jesus out. He had begun to look upon Jesus and wasn't sure what he was seeing. Was Jesus, indeed, God's gift of salvation? Or, was he a great teacher? Or was he a misguided or misleading heretic? Thankfully, Nicodemus was curious enough to find out, even if he was cautious about his approach.
I appreciate that Nicodemus is a round character - secretive, fearful, limiting, confused. When he reappears later in John we find out he's also bold and sacrificial. He grows in his understanding and devotion to Jesus. It's a journey. Nicodemus doesn't make it into the record books as one of Jesus' closest 12 disciples, but he, as far as I can tell, becomes one of Jesus' disciples, despite his struggles. That's all I can ask of us - that we allow the Holy Spirit to work with our full range of emotions and thoughts and abilities and inadequacies to become better at being disciples as the years go on.
Join with other disciples this Sunday to worship God and encourage one another along the journey of faith.