“Ol Saint Nick”
We’ll, now that Thanksgiving has come and gone many turn their gaze to the other holidays quickly approaching. Hmm, let’s see? Christmas anyone? Well, I have today in mind a different St Nick. Perhaps one you wouldn’t even think of. He was quite an important person historically, a bit timid, but important nonetheless.
Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.”
Nicodemus is the Nick I was thinking of. Was he a saint? Some think he was, and others aren’t so certain. Isn’t it interesting that he was on the Sanhedrin, ruling class, a teacher, yet the questions he asked were questions asked by his own ignorance of the truth. The fact that he came at night underscores his attempt to not draw attention to himself.
Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’
Poor Nicodemus, he didn’t understand the new birth, Salvation, new life.
Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
Can you imagine the honor of being evangelized by the Savior Himself? In bodily form? The Lord continues now with perhaps the most well known verses in the Bible. A passage used by Him to reveal Himself, to I’m sure, millions.
John 3:16-21 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”
This ends their dialog and we are left without his answer. However in John 7:50-52, Nicodemus spoke in His defense.
Nicodemus, who had gone to him before, and who was one of them, said to them, “Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?” They replied, “Are you from Galilee too? Search and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.”
Finally, we read in John 19:38-42.
After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took away his body. Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight. So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.
There are a variety of opinions on this, I believe that the God of Heaven revealed Himself to Nicodemus and while he was a timid man, he received the Savior as His own. Now in all honesty, we don’t have the authority to canonize Saints. But the Lord calls His own, saints.
So I present to you, “Saint Nick”