Saturday, March 17, 2012

Daily Devotion for Saturday, March 17, 2012

Scripture Reading for Today: John 3:1-13

Key verse for today: John 3:2, "He came to Jesus at night and said to him, 'Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God, for no one could do these miraculous signs that you do unless God is with him.'"
Christ Instructing Nicodemus
by Jacob Jordaens, 17th Century

Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a religious leader.  Yet he doesn't openly support Jesus even though he says the nice things about Jesus in verse 2.  He comes at night when no one would see him.

We might rather support Jesus covertly.  After all, what would people think if we really followed him?

This reminds me of the song, Howard Gray, by Lee Domann which is based on a true story.

Howard Gray

You can play it above and here are the lyrics:

Most every one I knew put the whole Gray family down
They were the poorest family in that little country town
Howard always looked too big for his funny ragged clothes
The kids all laughed at him and Jimmy Jones would thumb his nose

Howard sat across from me in seventh grade at school
I didn't like it much but mama taught the golden rule
So when the spitballs flew at him I never would join in
I guess that was the reason Howard thought I was his friend
And after things would quiet down sometimes I'd turn and see
The grateful eyes of Howard Gray lookin' back at me

Howard Gray, Howard Gray, somehow they got their kicks
Out of treatin' you that way
Deep down I kind of liked you but I was too afraid
To be a friend to you, Howard Gray

One day after lunch, I went to comb my hair and saw
They had Howard pinned against a locker in the hall
They were pokin' fun about the big hole in his shirt
They had his left arm twisted back behind him 'til it hurt
To this day I can't explain and I won't try to guess
Just how it was I wound up laughing harder than the rest
I laughed until I cried but through my tears I still could see
The tear-stained eyes of Howard Gray, looking back at me

Howard Gray, Howard Gray, I can't believe I joined them all
Treatin' you that way
I wanted to apologize but I was too afraid
Of what they'd think about me, Howard Gray

From that moment on after I made fun of him
He never looked my way, he never smiled at me again
Not much longer after that his family moved away
And that's the last I ever saw or heard of Howard Gray
That was forty years ago and I still haven't found
Just why we'll kick a brother or a sister when they're down
I know it may sound crazy but now and then I dream
About the eyes of Howard Gray lookin' back at me

Howard Gray, Howard Gray, I've never quite forgiven us
For treatin' you that way
I hope that maybe somehow you'll hear this song someday
And you'll know that I am sorry, Howard Gray

We'll probably never meet again, all I can do is pray
May you and God forgive us, Howard Gray

©1985 Shuretone Music (BMI) & Renovation Music (BMI)

As I reflect on this song, I go back to Nicodemus coming at night.  Nicodemus appears two more times in the Gospel of John.  He tries to defend Jesus to the other Pharisees but seems to be silenced in chapter seven.  What did Nicodemus think when Jesus was arrested?  We don't know.

He does appear to help with the burial.

The fact that he's mentioned in the Gospel more than once makes me think that he later became a part of the early church.  When chapter nineteen mentions that he first came to Jesus at night, I think that maybe Nicodemus associated with him more overtly later in life.

If he did later become a follower, would he have regretted not doing more when Jesus was physically present?

We've all failed people in life - just like Nicodemus and just like in the song.  How that influences what we'll do when the next person comes along will not earn us forgiveness but it might speak volumes about how we are using it.

Breath prayer: Gracious God, give me courage.  

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