David Lose at workingpreacher.org points out the difficulty with this upcoming Sunday’s gospel lesson John 3:1-17. How to preach this passage in a way that maintains the scandal of the gospel. John 3:16 is so well known and has such a place in the memory of people there is a need to put this passage into the scandal of the cross.
Why would God send his only begotten son to redeem such a broken world?
Nicodemus struggles trying to figure out who Jesus is and how he can get to be a part of the kingdom building work that Jesus is doing? The text ends with Jesus talking and then Jesus and his disciples continue their journey. We don’t hear about Nicodemus until the evening of Good Friday when he helps Joseph of Arimathea take Jesus down from the cross. I am always interested in where people are after they talk with Jesus. Some are healed, some are left confused, some start to follow Jesus. Nicodemus becomes a follower of Jesus but he takes some time to move his conversation with Jesus in the night into a public act of confession of faith.
When I share my faith with others and invite them to trust Jesus, I would love immediate devotion on their part. But I trust the Spirit will be at work through the Word inviting them to trust Jesus.