TITLE: Nick the Pharisee
By Marita Thelander
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NICK THE PHARISEE
Let me introduce you to Nicodemus, or as I call him Nick. You'll find his actual story in the book of John, chapter 3. I'll tell you his story as I see it, using a little "creative license" so to speak.
Nick adjusted his tie and straightening his suit jacket before he headed out of his study to walk among the "people". He decided he would slip over to Starbuck's and grab a house coffee with room. Nothing too fancy, those fancy coffees are silly and expensive. But Starbucks is where things always seem to be happening and it makes Nick look good if he is seen among that crowd. At least that's how HE saw it.
As Nick approached the curb outside the popular coffee house, he noticed a huge crowd had gathered on the sidewalk. Something definitely was happening! Not wanting to be noticed, he pretended to walk into the store next to Starbucks. He saw a man kneeling next to a punk kid and touching him gently. The kid had piercings all over his face and tattoos decorated any bare skin visible on his forearms and neck. His head was shaved and he wore strange clothing.
The crowd, buzzing with excitement, formed a tight circle of activity. Nick went ahead and slipped into Starbucks to order his coffee. As he loaded his "cheaper" coffee up with cream and sugar and added a dash of powdered cocoa, he overheard some women talking about the event outside.
From what he could over hear, the kid is a known drug addict and in his past used dirty needles. He now has AIDS. He had passed out on the sidewalk and this guy named Jesus touched him and he woke up.
The group gradually came inside and ordered a myriad of drinks, the silly expensive kind, and they all headed outside to sit in the sun's warmth under the trendy green umbrellas. The last guy to order was complaining at the total amount as he handed over the credit card. As he started to walk away he left a dollar in the tip jar. The young gal said politely, "Thanks, Jude" as she turned rolling her eyes at the co-worker who stood next to her.
Nick decided to sit outside, too. He positioned himself with an empty table between the group and himself. Literally, an empty table, since the group had commandeered all the chairs that were supposed to be at that table. Excitement filled the air as they all relived the events of their morning. Nick sat and sipped his coffee and listened.
He had heard about this Jesus guy. Nick's colleagues had complained about him at a recent meeting. It seems Jesus was a different kind of religious leader and he ended up making them all look foolish.
Nick made a few visual assessments and jotted them down in his planning book that he always carries around: Faded, worn jeans….flip-flop sandals….t-shirt with the Greek symbols for Alpha and Omega . The crowd around him seems simple, Uneducated, blue collar workers, fisherman, factory workers and the like…..
"Why weren't they at work?" Nick thought to himself. Work! He glanced at his watch and suddenly remembered he had an appointment with one of his many committees and now he is late.
He overheard Jesus say as they were all getting up, "let's go into the community and meet back here around 8:00 tonight."
The rest of the day, Nick couldn't concentrate. He had decided he would be at Starbucks before 8:00 so he could find out more. Why did his colleagues speak so harshly about this man? Why am I so fascinated, even drawn, to him?
Nick hovered in the shadows as the group gathered and chatted excitedly. Slowly, one by one, they all dispersed. With only a few men around him, Jesus seemed to speak in hushed, comforting and encouraging tones.
Finally, Jesus was alone. Nick approached him. "Excuse me. I know you are a teacher sent from God. How else could you do these amazing things?"
Jesus spoke softly to him, "Unless you are born again, you will not see God."
Ok…..Nick thought. Where did this come from? "How is that possible? How can a man be born a second time?" Nick asked.
Jesus took the next half hour or so to explain some very interesting Spiritual insights, but as Nick lay in bed, these were the words that rang in his memory: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it."
A few days later, Nick stood in his office, looking around at all his religious belongings, at his suit jacket on the coat rack and his tie in his hand. It all felt so empty………but what could he do? He was born a Pharisee, raised a Pharisee and educated to be a man of the Pharisees. He couldn't do anything…..or could he?
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