“…in the Gospel of John “night” tells more than time. The Evangelist uses that key word, and also “darkness,” as a diagnostic tool - to indicate something deeper and truer to the moment than any clock could show. We catch our first glimpse of this literary device in the prologue where John writes: “In him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it” (John 1:4-5). Conversely, when Judas left the Last Supper, “it was night” (John 13:30). For John, “night” is a metaphor as well as a marker, and in his Gospel many people are in the dark.
Scripture: John 3:1-2 (CEB)
“There was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a Jewish leader. 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.’”
In today's meditation, Thomas Steagald shares this question for reflection: “Why do you think many of us are hesitant to approach Jesus openly, and come to him only by night?”
As I first began to ponder this question, I answered with thoughts of fear, thinking maybe it's our fears that bring us to Jesus at night, or in the dark. But then as I thought about it more, I thought it could simply be because that's where we are in the moment we come to Jesus: in the dark.
In the dark, our fears run rampant about the realities we do face, while our minds make up other things that simply aren't there. It is in this place and in these moments when we call out for something or someone who we believe might be able to save us from the fear, from the monsters, from the darkness.
When I first made the decision to follow Christ, it was out of fear. I was eight years old, and my best friend had become a Christian. Since it was my family that led her and her family to the church in the first place, I feared that I might still be in the dark in some way and wanted desperately to join her in the light of her newfound faith.
I can imagine that for Nicodemus it was the same type of fear. With all of his expertise, all of his knowledge, and all of his authority, perhaps he realized that he might still be in the dark when it came to knowing God. For better or worse he came to Jesus hoping to find a way out. For better or worse, maybe that’s why we come to Jesus as well.