v 50 Then Nicodemus, the leader who had met with Jesus earlier, spoke up.
The Jewish leaders obviously expected Jesus to turn up for the Festival and so they were on the lookout for him. Plans were already being made to deal with Jesus – arrest him for blasphemy or on some other trumped-up charge. When the matter was being debated by the leaders it was only Nicodemus who felt able to challenge what was going on. It was generally understood that Jesus was from Galilee, and so he couldn’t be the Messiah – after all it was written in the Old Testament that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. (I wonder how much Nicodemus knew of Jesus’ background at this stage, so he only challenged the decisions on the grounds of legality). Be that as it may, he was willing to speak up in really hostile circumstances only to be shouted down by the rest of the group.
I sense that Nicodemus had started on the journey of faith at this point, and I admire his courage in speaking up. In many of the Eastern and Roman Catholic Churches he is remembered as a saint on the same day of the year, 2nd August, as Joseph of Arimathea. (Who we encounter in our reading tomorrow.)
Where and how will you speak up for Jesus today?