Nicodemus - the night seeker
Somewhere near City hall in Singapore, behind closed doors, a gay club was having its full moon party. On this occasion, the members were naked, and at the core of the venue was a maze like area dimly litted. Unseen activities occur, hidden from public view, a space given by the Government for Gays. Such activities were hidden from public as not to incur an outcry. Not that the public are righteous. They have their own space at Geylang. But instead of hidden, it is brightely lighted, with many eating places, and a public showcase for female prostitutes. One need to search for the Gay place, but the venue for the straight population is a thousand times bigger and a magnet for single straight guys. Gays are hidden in Singapore, their activities hidden. Even in the very limited space available, it is done in darkness. Gays are like Nicodemus, the night seeker, hiding their sexuality to avoid being known as gays. Also being in shame due to self condemnation, they also hide their face from God. If only they have come to Jesus, they would see the true light and be free to know that they can accept themselves as Gays because God accepts them.
The Jesus Movement in those days was rather despised and an outcast movement. But Jesus did not hide, He boldly proclaimed salvation in God, with the demonstration of power and substance of His faith through the healing of the sick and miracles. But the religious leaders were to shameful to be seen talking to Jesus, whom they see as a heretic. Even if they believed, it would be only in their heart. Nicodemus was not just a Pharisee, he was a leader. Having a reputation to maintain, he came to Jesus by night. Many Christian leaders truly believed that Gays are created by God as equals, not inferior. Yet, few will come forward in broad daylight to declare this revelation in public. So too, was Nicodemus. who saw that Jesus was indeed of God because of the miracles or signs that Jesus did. He came at night to enquire further.
Nicodemus was a Pharisee. The name "Pharisee" means "the separated ones." It may mean that they separated themselves from the masses of the people or that they separated themselves to the study and interpretation of the law. They were the spiritual descendants of the Hasidim, the loyal fighters for religious freedom in the time of Judas Maccabeus. They appear to be responsible for the transformation of Judaism from a religion of sacrifice to one of law. They were the developers of the oral tradition, the teachers of the two-fold law: written and oral. They saw the way to God as being through obedience to the law. So, quietly Nicodemus came not knowing what to expect and calling Jesus, a "teacher from God" to learn of a new law, a new way of obedience so that God can be with him to do great works like Jesus and to have the assurance to be numbered in the kingdom of God.
Nicodemus knew that Jesus was of God. He came with a seeking heart, to know God. And Jesus saw into his deepest desire, past the insult of calling Jesus as only a teacher instead of God, and replied asking Nicodemus to do what he cannot do with his own hands and obedience to works, that is to be born again, to be born into the kingdom of God. Nicodemus was stunned, still carnal in mind, he asked how can one be re-birthed not realising that it is of spiritual birth that is not result of sex or the work in bed between a man and women.
Jesus re-emphasised, and re-iterated that unless one is born by the cleansing of the blood of the lamb symbolized by water baptism of death of the old self with Christ death, and resurrected to the new self in Christ' resurrection, and with His Spirit quickened and made alive by the Holy Spirit to commune with God, there is no way that he or she can enter the kingdom of God. Being born through the womb or by the flesh, we will be of this world and be of carnal nature, but being born of the Spirit of God, we will likewise exhibit the work of the Spirit of Christ.
Nicodemus was shocked. He was so earthly and carnal minded and excel in the practical demonstration of religious good works, that he now marvels at the need for a spiritual rebirth of being born again. The Spiritual realm and the work of the Holy Spirit is not something that can be made in the many steps of procedures to follow in order to manifest it. Rather, it is like a wind, not predictable, not controllable nor made to appear by a series of repeated actions or works on our part. So is the people born of the Spirit of God, that can discern the voice of the Holy Spirit, to follow God, to do His specific will and not just to follow a pre-set regulations which is cast in stone without the relationship aspect of God. Some say why haven't the bible been updated to reflect modern times. Some reply, that it is we who needs to be updated. But truly, the word of God is now in us, made flesh i.e., following God becomes an act of relationship, a spiritually natural act of listening to God speaking to our heart. No longer do we have fixed stone tablets which are unchanged, but now our lives have become the very tablets of flesh that God will write into our hearts do His works through. Hallelujah. If we seek for the bible to be updated, we are truly carnal and need to be born again, to be made alive in the Spiritual sense to be able to commune deeply with God and to discern His very voice - not just the voice calling in our hearts to repent and accept Jesus Christ before we came to accept Christ and be born again, but now after a spiritual rebirth, we see and hear clearly, we live also in a spiritual realm, a walk of fellowship with Jesus Christ. Having to know Jesus loves you is insufficent, you need to act on it, and be born again by ackowledging your sins and Christ perfect atonement for your sins.
Nicodemus knew then that one must be born again in the spirit, but how to do it since there are no works that can be done to achieve it. Jesus chides him that He should know as a respected bible scholar of Israel, and reminded him of Moses lifting up the brazen cross when sickness afflicted Israel that all who look upon the cross for their salvation was delivered from death. Yes, Jesus died for all men, but we need to look and accept Him to be saved. Those who refused to look upon the makeshift cross perished so do those who do not look upon Jesus for their salvation.
The night seeker realized that he needed to come out in public and appear during the day to be baptized in water, to submerged into the river of life as if to wash away the sins, and to re-emerged cleansed from sin, and given a new lease of life through the resurrection of Christ. It may be too simplistic for the intellectual mind but God's ways are truly higher than that of the best intellect that man has to offer. For it is a new lease of life and not a second chance. For a criminal having paid for his crime through a jail term may be a free man, is nevertheless liable to be punished if he commits a crime again. So, no point if it is just a once off cleansing. If Christ died for us without the resurrection, we will still be in our sins. The great exchange His life for ours would result in His body being totally free from our sins that He bored at the cross giving way to His resurrection and victory over death. If He did not resurrect, the transaction has stalled. His resurrection made all the difference for it signifies a spiritual rebirth into the kingdom of God, God's acceptance of Jesus Christ death for us and His ascension to the right hand of God. And because, we are in Christ, we too are birthed spiritually, His blood not only cleansed us, but it also covers us. When God sees us, He sees Jesus Christ. Amen. Hallelujah. And because Jesus is sinless, so to God considers us without sin. Therefore, we have the power to overcome sin, knowing that even when we do sin, God still loves us, and considers us still the same. To those carnal minded, who do not know the ways of God will call it a license to sin, forgetting that sin will have power over you through condemnation.
It is now 2 am in the morning. Many Christians Gays have gone to the saunas and have sex, their hearts filled with remorse and condemnation that they have failed God again. Sooner or later they will no longer attend church and will slip further into sin. They have no power over sin when they do not understand that the blood of Christ not only able to cleanse them from their sin, but keep them cleanse forever so that without condemnation, they have the power to live a Christian walk in the fellowship with the Holy Spirit. Many gay Christians come in the middle of the night to Jesus, asking "Do you love me, can you accept me as a Gay and a Christian?" They looked up to heaven, to the thousand of stars in the night sky. The heavens talks of the mercy and grace of God in sending His Son to us. Jesus was answer, you are accepted in the beloved, not because you are gay or straight but because I died for you, and rose again for you that you live an overcoming life whether straight or gay. I have created you from my mother' womb as a gay, the days before you are planned that you may prosper.
Nicodemus only visited Jesus at night. The next time he came was during the day, to a dead Jesus. He had missed the opportunity to fellowship, commune and to sit under the teaching of God Himself. He was a great teaher of Israel, but missed the opportunity to be under the greatest teacher of all, who created the very scripture he sought to understand. But he now understood, and believed what Jesus had said that one must be born again, through believing in Jesus, His death. He knew that Jesus have had to die, and perhaps suspected that Jesus would rise again. He offered Jesus the honor what none of the disciples could have money to buy, a hundred pounds of expensive spices. Myrrh is a constituent of perfumes and incense, was highly prized in ancient times, and was often worth more than its weight in gold. In ancient Rome myrrh was priced at 5 times as much as frankincense, though the latter was far more popular. Nicodemus finally understood Jesus' message. In response to Jesus dying for him, he gave perhaps his life savings, esseantially giving up his life and everything in it to Jesus.