Nicodemus and Joseph

Nicodemus and Joseph imagines a conversation between Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. On the one hand they are concerned with the machinations of the Council, but on the other Nicodemus reflects on his earlier secret encounter with Jesus. What was the significance of the words of Jesus on that occasion? This leads to a question from Joseph - "You know, Nicodemus, they may have got him, but I wonder if they really did!"

Jerusalem. A day of trouble and noise and confusion is just about over. In a quiet spot in the better part of the city, two friends meet to talk over the day's events.
JOSEPH:They beat us this time, Nicodemus. The other members of the Council got their way and Jesus is dead!
NICODEMUS:You know, Joseph, being a member of the Council sometimes makes you feel dirty. And yet... (pause)
NICODEMUS:And yet, there's something about this killing of Jesus that I'm trying to figure out.
JOSEPH:You began confiding in me once about your secret visit to Jesus. It's not about that, is it?
NICODEMUS:Well ... in a sort of a way. You see, Jesus didn't give me a chance to ask my question. I'm not really sure what I wanted to ask him anyway. But it didn't matter. Somehow he answered all my questions!
JOSEPH: Didn't he say something about how you needed to be "born again"?
NICODEMUS: That's right - he said you can't enter or even see God's Kingdom unless you are born again, born of water and the Spirit.
JOSEPH: But how can that be?
NICODEMUS:That's about how I put it to Jesus. I know the Scriptures very well. Jeremiah speaks about a new covenant, God's law written within us. Ezekiel speaks about a new heart and about God's Spirit within us. But how can such a thing happen?
JOSEPH: I see what you're getting at, Nicodemus. It's not just a question of how the other members of the Council can be different. But how can we be different too?
NICODEMUS:Yes. We don't need to be born again physically, he said. You've got the first part. You've already been born of water. But you must be born of the Spirit. How? That's the question!
JOSEPH: And it's too late to ask it now. They got him! He's dead!
NICODEMUS: But that's where that something comes that I'm trying to figure out. He said that he was going to be lifted up just like that bronze snake in Moses' time. But I never dreamt he might have meant this!
JOSEPH: You mean that he might have meant...
NICODEMUS: He said that everyone who believes in him would have eternal life.
JOSEPH:The bronze snake! People dying, then looking and getting healed! You know, Nicodemus, they may have got him, but I wonder if they really did!
NICODEMUS:Yes, I wonder!
JOSEPH: Look, Nicodemus, I've recently had a family tomb made. Let's go to Pilate and see if we can get the body of Jesus so that he can at least have a decent burial.
So Nicodemus and Joseph made their way to Pilate's residence with their request. Had those enemies of Jesus really got him? How sure were they - or Pilate - of that? How secure could the body of Jesus be made in that tomb?
Reader:John 19.38-42.

From Between the Lines. Dialogues for Worship by Peter J. Blackburn published by Testimonium Fellowship 1992, © Peter J. Blackburn.
Permission is given for copying of this document for local use with this copyright notice intact. For any other proposed use the specific permission of Peter J. Blackburn must be sought.

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