An evening with Jesus and Nicodemus

It is the dark of an early spring evening. In the warm, still air are the soft scents of flowers blooming and the sounds of small animals moving in the night. Jesus and the Apostles are reclined around the table.  In twos and threes the Apostles recount the events of the day, quietly talking and laughing, enjoying one another as close friends do. I listen to their voices, as I clean up from the meal which has been prepared for the Master and his companions. I can see that Jesus is tired from the day’s work. He has taught in the Temple and healed all who came to Him. Still the Master’s eyes are clear and lively, and He listens intently to the conversations around Him, smiling and laughing as well, occasionally making a remark or answering a question.

There is a knock at the outer door of the courtyard. Andrew, one of the twelve, gets up to answer the knock. Who could be here so late? It is unusual for visitors to come after dark looking for Jesus. Andrew returns with Nicodemus, a Pharisee and a leader among the members of the Sanhedrin. Nicodemus is a learned and respected man, well known for his knowledge and devotion to God’s law and to the faith of our people. He looks around the room and his eyes rest on Jesus, who motions to Nicodemus to recline next to him. Nicodemus begins to speak words which he has thoughtfully considered, as he walked to this house where Jesus and his friends are staying. “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.”   Nicodemus has been watching Jesus and listening to Him intently as Jesus preaches in the Temple. I wonder who is the “we” Nicodemus speaks about. Has the Sanhedrin met to discuss Jesus? Are there others among these leaders of our people who want to follow the Master too?  Nicodemus has recognized that Jesus is a teacher, a man who should be respected, for he has come to speak and listen to the Master without the distraction of the crowds which constantly follow Jesus.

The Master’s response to Nicodemus is strange, for Nicodemus did not ask a question, but made a statement, much as a man would make to begin a conversation with someone who isn’t well known to him. “Very truly, I tell you”, Jesus begins, “no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.”  Jesus has once again looked into the heart of the man seated before Him and saw the questions which Nicodemus was intent on asking. “Who are you? Why are you here? Are you the Messiah, the One who has been promised for ages?”

Their conversation continues for some time before Nicodemus rises and leaves. Jesus then turns and looks at me, for He has seen me standing quietly in the shadows, watching and listening. Jesus invites me to sit before him now. What questions will I ask? Since the Lord can see my heart, what unspoken questions will He answer?