Monday, February 1, 2010

Nicodemus and Paul

Nicodemus and Paul had some common background items. Both were Jews, living in Jerusalem, religious leaders and Pharisees. Both were interested in Christ. For Nicodemus’ interest, check out the third chapter of John, which includes:

There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. (John 3:1-2 KJV)

Nicodemus did not come in the light of day. But he supported Jesus more than once – John 7:45-51 during the Feast of the Tabernacles and again after the crucifixion, John 19:39-40. He did come to the light of the world to find out more about Him and did not persecute Him. Paul did not come to Jesus, he persecuted those who did. He supported the death of Christians before they had been given that name.

Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. (Acts 7:57-59 KJV)

If you were choosing a preacher for your church, at this point, which would you choose?

Isn’t it wonderful that God knew the right man for the job? Instead of protecting Christians from Paul’s persecution, He changed Paul.

Paul’s importance to God’s plan is evident in his conversion experience. Back in Esther, Mordecai told her:

For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this? (Esther 4:14 KJV)

Jesus appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus (Acts 9) when he saw Jesus and was struck blind for three days. Now, no matter how you look at it, that’s an attention getter!!

Peter, James and John walked with Jesus for three years. They saw miracles, transfiguration and the resurrected Christ. Their work with the church is documented, their letters to the churches included in the New Testament, but none matched the output of Paul’s letters, on mission journeys and in prison.

Could Nicodemus have done as well? Why in the world would we care, much less ask? They were called for different reasons. We have many more like Nicodemus in our churches than we do Pauls – and that’s a good thing. Our churches need workers who will come to Christ and learn from Him. We need workers who will speak out for Him. We need people who would go so far as to prepare a grave, when others were either too sad, or in hiding.

Just as members of Christ’s church are parts of the body, Paul tells us:

For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. (1 Corinthians 12:14-18 KJV)

Nicodemus or Paul? Both are needed. Serve where called.

(Nickodemus With Jesus from Wikimedia Commons)

1 comment:

  1. Grammy:

    I am so glad I found your blog. I need a sound word of god's encouragement each day. Thank you for you service to the Lord


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