your time as you read and reflect after the final reading:
Nicodemus reappears right at the end of our reading. It is Nicodemus who meets with Jesus in chapter 3 of John’s gospel. He arrives then in the very middle of the night, when the darkness is at its most complete. He steps into the lamplight to converse with Jesus, but then sinks back into the shadows afterwards. John uses light and darkness as a metaphor to indicate who is a believer and who is not. Those who walk in the light of Jesus, Light of the World, are disciples. Those who lurk in the shadows are unbelievers, immersed in darkness. Nicodemus plays a strange role in John’s gospel. He stands for those people who would like to believe, but just don’t quite get there. So, when Nicodemus arrives in John 19:39 to dispose of Jesus’s body, he brings with him enough myrrh to embalm 100 corpses. You could read that as an extravagant act of love, like that of the woman who pours perfume on Jesus’s feet? More likely, however, it betrays the fact that he still doesn’t understand what’s going on. For Nicodemus, death is the end for Jesus. Full stop. For the disciples, however, the darkness of Good Friday and Holy Saturday will be succeeded by an Easter Sunday morning when bright sunshine will consume the whole world with the light of Christ again. And the disciples will find their faith brought back to life.
The Word Online: If you have already celebrated the Passion Story this week, read John 19: 31-42. Look out for the Pharisee, Nicodemus, who reappears to bury Jesus’s body. Nicodemus never really understands who Jesus is. But he is in sympathy with what Jesus teaches. Then watch the online video of Nicodemus sharing a word or two at a secret funeral for Jesus’ family and friends on Good Friday evening.