John 7:40-53- The Silent Believer
Explanation- There is a stirring amongst the people. They are seeking to get to the bottom of who Christ really is. This causes a division in their members. Again, we see that Christ cannot simply be irrelevant and men will indeed form their opinions about Him one way or another.
When the officials come to the Pharisees they acknowledge Christ’s authority. ‘No one ever spoke like this man’, they say. This shows how powerful of an influence that Christ truly was. In the presence of the very religious ‘hotshots’, this official discredits even their speech and authority in comparison to Christ’s. Clearly this does not sit well with the Pharisees and they begin to display their contempt of Christ and ignorance of the law. Yet Nicodemus, who had previously proved that he was not of the same persuasion as other Pharisees, offers words in Christ’s defense. Although these words seem to be under the general cloak of the law, rather than a bold stance for Christ, they still show Nicodemus’ affection for Christ despite the position he holds.
Application- I believe that it is important to notice the placement of Nicodemus in this section. This is one of the few times that we encounter this man in the Gospel’s, but on each instance he is seen as one who desires to follow Christ but is choked out from fully making a commitment by the cares of the world. In this case those cares very well could be the reproach that would come from his fellow Pharisees. This difficulty that Nicodemus faced is one that we can learn from. How many men, women, and even children hide their faith in the face of their peers? Whether in places of business, education, or leisure, there are many who seek to hide their faith under a bushel in order to avoid the reproach that often comes along with being a true follower of Christ. In light of this, let us pray that we would each be overcome of this fear of man and display our faith proudly and without shame. Christ has revealed to our hearts the reality of His nature and our goal should be to see Christ become the greatest reality in our existence. In the face of this kind of faith, the opinions and ridicule of man becomes quite irrelevant.