Afraid to be Seen with Jesus

I WAS ACONFUSED LEADER (John 3: 1-21)

I admit. It was painful to be confused. And I was confused as confused a man can get. To add insult to injury, I was a teacher of Israel and sat on the highest council in the land. I felt like a blind man leading other blind. We were going down into a pit and refused to admit it. Our Law had been aborted in favor of some fathers’ teaching. We even condemned innocent people. Our religious practices were in shambles. We had moneychangers and merchants use the “Temple’s Court” for business; rather, than for prayer. We made people take our worthless currency for good Roman money. We got richer and the people poorer. We devoured widow’s houses and orphan’s heritages. We let God’s House fall in disrepair. I just could not take it any more. I had no stomach for how we were running God’s country. To top it off, we assisted our false king and the Romans in putting away people that were trying to bring us back to God, His Law and His Word. We did nothing to stop John the Baptist from being beheaded by King Herod and we signed the arrest and death warrants for any one that disagreed with our politics. I, and two other men on the Council, had come to the conclusion that we were even fighting God (Acts 5:33-40). Every time I opened my mouth in the defense of our Law and I was jumped on like a hawk on its prey (Jn.7: 50-52). I am Nicodemus, a champion of the people; in reality, I was a mouse.

Lately, our leaders really felt threatened. A man by the name of Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee was drawing great crowds. There was such fear among the Council members to halt this man before the Romans took away our right to govern ourselves. What seemed strange was that the Romans were undisturbed over this Galilean. They knew what we did not know; namely, He preached to give to Rome what belonged to Rome and to God what belonged to God (Mat. 22: 221). It so happened what belonged to God went into our own pockets. I decided to pay this Jesus a visit and find out for myself what He was all about. I found it very inappropriate to seek Him out during the day for fear to be seen with Jesus. So, one night I took courage and went to Him with a speech and questions all prepared. In a very diplomatic way I acknowledged that He was a teacher and what He was doing were definitely signs that He had the backing of God. Jesus simply cut me off and said, “The truth is that a man who wants to get into God’s kingdom must be born again!”

How did He know that I had come to seek out the truth? I must have looked very silly and ignorant when I gasped and mumbled, “How can an old man be born anew? How can he enter his mother’s womb to become once more a baby?” But Jesus insisted that a man had to be born of water and the Spirit and not of the flesh. The Spirit had to come over a man like the blowing of the wind. “How can this be?” I asked. His answer was, “You are a teacher in Israel and do not understand the things you know and see how will you understand if I tell you I came from heaven and shall return there. God has loved the world so much that He has send me to save everyone that believes in me and grant him life beyond death. I have come to shed light on the truth and the truth is that man must be born again in order to qualify for the kingdom.”

What was Jesus trying to say to me? I was a law-abiding, god-fearing and upright man. Why was I of all people that had to become like a newly born baby? It was true that I was not good enough to face God, but far better than most men. What then was He after? Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. I was endorsing as a leader and teacher a system that Jesus could not tolerate. Change has to take place at the top. I was at the top and the top was corrupt. If the leaders do not feel the Spirit of God changing them then the people shall remain in darkness. There was no doubt in my mind that we were engulfed in darkness. We had become the children of the devil (Jn. 8:44). And now, we were even plotting to destroy this one Good Man who had definitely come from God to help us repent and return to the ways of God. Jesus was the “New Wind” or the “Spirit of God” blowing in our land but my fellow leaders were dead set against His breeze. He was toppling our lucrative comfortable world. He presented a far more threat to our system than the Romans did. That is why they preferred Caesar to Jesus. My fellow leaders wanted a kingdom of this world and not one that was run by heaven. That is why I could only believe in Jesus in secret. I was too afraid to stand up for Him when He was being ridiculed, tortured and hung on a cursed cross. I too was too comfortable to identify with Jesus while He was alive. But I did collect my nerves and assisted my friend Joseph of Arimathea with His burial. It was kind of Joseph to give Jesus his own grave. At least His resting-place was honorable. I never felt honorable after that. I did not cast my vote against Jesus, but I did nothing to stop it either. I spoke up at Jesus’ trial and they crushed me. Like a coward, I buried my head in the sand and let evil men kill my Lord. It was then that I realized how much I needed to be born again so that the Spirit of the Lord could use me in restoring the Messiah to my nation. I was a confused leader and stood in need of the heavenly light to guide me. No amount of water but the blood of Christ can absolve me from my negligence and lack of standing up for my Savior.