Wrapping up this chapter on loving Jesus, it seems appropriate to provide this Kempis quote (2,7). Clearly inspired by Scripture (see Mt 7:7-8), this line wraps up neatly what should be our quest: seeking Jesus above all things, listening to Him (see Mt 17:5) and imitating Him (see 1 Cor 11:1) in every moment.
Pharisees in general do not come out looking good in the Gospels, particularly in John. Yet, in today’s reading (Jn 3;1-8), we find a true seeker who is moved by Jesus’ works, and undoubtedly, His words. He is not yet ready to boldly approach Jesus (thus the night visit), but he is stepping out on a limb even approaching this wonder worker newly on the scene considering the disposition toward Jesus of his fellow members of the Sanhedrin (being a “Pharisee…a ruler of the Jews” (v.1) “[p]resumably [meant] that he sat on the Jewish high court known as the Sanhedrin [cf. John 7:48; 12:42]” — Scott Hahn, Gen. Ed. Catholic Bible Dictionary [New York: Doubleday, 2009], 649). Yet, seeking the truth, he wants to know more, even at great personal risk. He does not get an easy answer, as he is challenged by Jesus to think of the nature of spiritual rebirth, even questioning his understanding of Scripture (v. 10 as we’ll hear tomorrow). Being an authentic seeker of God and thus of truth, we find him later defending Jesus (and being blasted for it) (see Jn 7:50-52) and finally helping to bury Jesus (see Jn 19:38-42). He’s even on our calendar of saints (August 3)!
Like Nicodemus, we must be willing to step out in faith, even when it may impact us harshly. Seeking and defending the truth is not optional for our well-being here or hereafter. But prepare to be challenged by Christ, to question, to find difficulties (but never doubts), and along the way to defend the Lord without counting the cost and, in the end, to remain with Him in the darkest hour with full confidence that He is with us and empathizes with us.
Jesus and Nicodemus (1899) by Henry Ossawa Tanner