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Tuesday of the Second Week of Easter




Jesus said to Nicodemus: “‘You must be born from above.’ The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Nicodemus answered and said to him, ‘How can this happen?” Jesus answered and said to him, “You are the teacher of Israel and you do not understand this? Amen, amen, I say to you, we speak of what we know and we testify to what we have seen, but you people do not accept our testimony. If I tell you about earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has gone up to heaven except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”


REFLECTION

Nicodemus answered and said to him, ‘How can this happen?”


It is fascinating to listen to Nicodemus question Jesus in the earlier verses of John 3.


So, who is Nicodemus? What makes him so interested in finding out more about Jesus and His teachings?


Nicodemus was a member of the Sanhedrin, a scholar of the law and a teacher or rabbi. In fact, he was the leader of the Sanhedrin which was the highest Jewish court.

The Sanhedrin begun during the time of Moses. When God told Moses, "Gather for Me 70 men from the elders of Israel."(Numbers 11:16) God made these 70 plus Moses (71) the elders, teachers, and now judges for the formation of the first Sanhedrin. The function of the Sanhedrin involved their authority over cases involving the king, capital crimes committed by the high priest, crimes committed by an entire tribe or city. They had the power to crown a king, give permission for "voluntary" wars - for the expansion of the country's borders. Also, they had the power to expand holy sites particularly in Jerusalem or the courtyards around the Holy Temple. And they could appoint lesser courts of 23 judges. This judicial body was to help Moses in keeping peace and order among the Israelites.


Nicodemus held a position of great power and responsibility. Yet this man, Jesus, as he exclaimed, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God, for no one can do these signs that you are doing unless God is with him."(John 3:2) As a responsible Jewish leader and God fearing Jew, Nicodemus wants to know and understand who Jesus is. Yet, he is also aware of the confusion and angst among the other elders of the Sanhedrin about the many Jews following Jesus. He wants Jesus to explain His seemingly radical statements, His teachings, and His miracles? Nicodemus visits Jesus at night to learn from Him, because his colleagues are in too much of an emotional uproar over the attention Jesus attracts. He knows the that the other Sanhedrin members are looking for ways to give Jesus over to the Romans.


There are three times Nicodemus is mentioned in the Gospel of John. He appears in John's Gospel after Jesus' encounter with the money changers, sellers and the Pharisees in the Temple area. The first time was when he met Jesus in the night. The second time was when he addressed the Sanhedrin and told his fellow Pharisees "Does our law judge a man, unless it has first heard him and has known what he has done?" Then he is mentioned when he helped Joseph of Arimathea take down Jesus' body. Nicodemus also brought a mixture of myrrh and aloe to prepare the body for burial. (John 3:1-9; John 7:50-51, John 19:39)

There was a definite change in Nicodemus' behavior after his secret meetings with Jesus and before His trial and after the crucifixion of Jesus.


Questioning helps to clarify and better understand what is perplexing. Nicodemus was a critical thinker. We all need to be like Nicodemus. Ask questions. Seek to know Jesus better.


Fortunately, we have a chance to be like Nicodemus and ask questions to a scholar and teacher our Spiritual Guide, Father Michael J. Nguyen Truong Luan, C.Ss.R. during our Face ZBS (Face Zoom Bible Study) sessions. Think Critically about your Catholic Faith and get to know and love Jesus!


It is a pilgrimage you don't want to miss!




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