Looking Forward to Sunday: Questions Come to Light

Rev. Daniel Eggold

Mar 2, 2020

Readings:

Genesis 12:1–9; Psalm 121; Romans 4:1–8, 13–17; John 3:1–17

Nicodemus (left) talking to Jesus, by Henry Ossawa Tanner
Nicodemus (left) talking to Jesus, by Henry Ossawa Tanner

What is it about the night that invites questions? As our head rests on the pillow and shadows stretch out on the bedroom wall, questions, like field mice, begin to emerge from the nooks and crannies of our mind.

    At first, the questions are practical: Did someone let the dog out this evening? Are the kids’ lunches packed for school? When am I going to get to the grocery store this week?

    And then, without warning, the questions morph: Is Grandma going to recover from this illness? Why are my prayers so short these days? Does Jesus really care about us—about me?

    At this point we know that night has truly descended. Truth uttered in darkness. Naked honesty feels much safer, much less exposed when light’s reach seems a day way.

    Maybe that is why we can relate to Nicodemus. For when did Nicodemus come to Jesus? By night! Though we can easily skip over the setting’s description in this gospel encounter, it is so very important. With shadows dancing in the torchlight, Nicodemus makes his way to Jesus, beset by questions he can ask only undercover of darkness.

    Though the darkness is Nicodemus’ security blanket, he cannot help himself. Like a moth fluttering in the night sky, Nicodemus is irresistibly drawn to the light. Not just any light: Jesus, the light of the world, the light no darkness can overcome.

    As people filled with our own questions, we follow in the furtive footsteps of Nicodemus, falsely believing our naked honesty will remain hidden in the gloom of night. But the Spirit, through the light of Christ, calls us out from the shadows, and in fact, exposes us to the brilliance of God’s love—a love that meets our questioning hearts with nothing less than life eternal.

Prayer

O God, You see that of ourselves we have no strength. By Your mighty power defend us from all adversities that may happen to the body and from all evil thoughts that may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.