Nicodemus - Easter Poem
Joyce Carr Stedelbauer Share page


A Pharisee, devout member of the Sanhedrin, Nicodemus
is remembered for his late night visit to Jesus.  Was
he avoiding the crowd that always pressed close to the
Teacher?  Or did he not want to be observed by the fellow
dissenting Jews of his party.  Much less by the Sadducees,
there was enough disagreement with them.  So he came by
night to ask his burning question:

“Rabbi we know that you are a teacher come from God
for no one can do these signs that you do, unless God
is with him”.  Jesus replied,  “with all of the earnestness
I possess I tell you this: unless you are born again, you
can never get into the Kingdom of God..”  “Born again!
What do you mean? How can an old man go back into his
mother’s womb and be born again?”  “What I am telling
you so earnestly is this:  Unless one is born of water and
the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God.  Men can
only reproduce human life, but the Holy Spirit gives new
life from Heaven.”
  John 3


Nicodemus, I see you in the shadows.
You …. you who came by night as all seeking sinners do,
out of the dark depths of self – murky motives – wrapped
in a midnight cloak, hiding from pious, fellow Pharisees.
Slipping silently along empty streets, stumbling
on the rocky path across the treacherous Kidron Valley
to the garden, the green olive-sweet garden mountainside.

You watched Him kneeling, draped over a rock,
in anguished conversation with His Father.
Peter, James and John sprawled nearby, asleep.

You had noticed His tenderness toward the sick,
listening to audacious claims of Divinity,
watched Him teaching in the Temple,
and so you came,
burdened with the weightiest question of all humanity.

The pivotal question
on which planet earth tilts on its axis.
The answer unites man and his Maker eternally.
“You must be born again.”

Nicodemus, I see you at the cross,
late in the grey-grief afternoon.
Women weeping – soldiers sleeping – disciples fleeing
and yet you came,
wrapped in a sorrowful cloak.
Together you helped
Joseph of Arimathea slip the body soundlessly
from the humble tree –
stumbling under the precious weight –
to the garden, a green olive-sweet garden with a new tomb.

Nicodemus, I see you in the Duomo in Florence
on a Son-light morning, standing
under Brunelleschi’s dome.
You . . . you immortalized by Michelangelo
sculpting his features in your marble face.

Palpable sorrow and eternal praise
chiseled together in the passionate Pieta,
polished centuries after the Tomb was empty.

John 3

~ ~ ~ ~

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Used with permission by Joyce Carr Stedelbauer from her book “WHO ROLLED THE STONE?

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