My Ash Wednesday sermon this year was on the life of Nicodemus. He was the Pharisee who came to Jesus at night in John 3. We can trace his story through John’s gospel from inquiry, to defense, to silence, and finally to the bittersweet way he outs himself as a follower of Jesus.

After Jesus was crucified (it seems likely that Nicodemus was present at the events leading up to the crucifixion, and yet he did not speak up on his behalf), Nicodemus took 75 pounds of myrrh and aloe and buried him. That 75 pounds was the precise amount prescribed in the burial of kings! So Nicodemus is making a public declaration that Jesus truly was a king.

What a way to out yourself as a disciple of Christ! But Nicodemus only confessed Jesus as King after months of keeping his mouth shut in order to protect his reputation. For too long he loved his place in this world so much that he wouldn’t speak up about Jesus, because to do so could cost him everything.

The challenge for us is to consider what keeps us silent about Jesus. Is it your desire for a good reputation? to keep your place in life? to maintain peace in your family? Whatever it is, I hope you’ll lay it down, at least for this season of Lent. Rather than thinking about what might be lost if you open your mouth, consider what could be gained by telling others about Jesus.

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