This reflection was written during the Holy Week retreat at Launde Abbey last year, when we were invited on Maundy Thursday to focus on one of the ‘characters’ in the gospel narrative and to try and see the events from their perspective. So these are Nicodemus’ reflections after the trial before Caiaphas (which Nicodemus, as a member of the Sanhedrin, would have attended) and before Jesus’ crucifixion.
What I have written is based on John 3:1-21 (in verse 14, Jesus refers to Numbers 21:8-90). The only other reference to Nicodemus comes after the crucifixion, when he brings burial spices as he and Joseph of Arimathea prepare Jesus’ body for the tomb. John 19:38-42
‘The wind blows wherever it wants’,
that’s what you said-
that night, after dark.
It’s blowing now,
gusting across the court of the Gentiles,
Can you hear it?
howling for your death.
But you know why it blows, this wind,
indeed, you turn to face it –
You knew it then,
you warned me.
All that talk about Moses
and his bronze snake.
I just didn’t think it would be so soon.
And I, ever the cautious sceptic
with my academic questions
and my wanting to remain in good standing with my peers –
I am come but lately to believe
your heavenly truths
in this, my earthly heart,
to stop the priestly juggernaut,
its greedy game
of cat and mouse with Rome.
You will be lifted up….
But if I’ve heard you right,
will somehow be redemptive…
So not a tragedy?
the cost will be brutal.
Everything shouts to me now
that you’re indeed God’s Son –
So how will the Father tolerate
what’s coming – (too soon)
to his beloved child?
(Still the one with the questions, you notice).
Yes, my mind reels
but now my heart reels too –
my ‘newly born’ heart.
My helplessness to make a difference
as is my shame
at my withholding
to the so-called ‘King of the Jews’.
I give it to you now –
too late perhaps I walk in the light,
praying that the memory of that unwavering illumination
will sustain us both in the hideous darkness ahead…