Last year during my Easter Bible readings I got stuck in John 20 and blogged about the idea of faith as a journey. This year I am stuck in John 19, and the same idea is exploding off the page.

Nicodemus only shows up three times in the Bible. But those three appearances paint a beautiful picture of three phases most of us experience in our faith journey.

1. QUESTIONS & ANSWERS. John 3:1-16. Nicodemus seemed to be fearful and skeptical yet sincere in his first encounter with Jesus. He asked questions and got answers. The answers included two of the most famous statements Jesus ever made: “You must be born again” and John 3:16. Nicodemus came to Jesus at night, presumably so his peers would not know he was talking to Jesus. It’s OK if your faith journey is filled with questions and mixed with a little fear.

2. DEFENDING BUT NOT FOLLOWING. John 7:45-52. Some of the Jewish religious leaders want to kill Jesus, but Nicodemus defends Him by siting a legal loophole. At this point Nicodemus is still not following Jesus, but He is not against Him either. He’s in the middle. Some of you reading this might be defending Him, but are you following Him? Nicodemus is on a journey that will eventually take him to the cross. So are you, if you are really following Jesus.

3. RISKING ALL TO IDENTIFY WITH THE CROSS. John 19:38-42. Finally we find Nicodemus at the cross.That’s where all genuine faith journeys always end. If your faith is leading you away from the cross, you are on the wrong path. Peter and the big twelve are running and hiding, but Nicodemus is at the cross. By identifying with the cross, Nicodemus risked much more than his reputation. His job and his life were on the line. The cross is the point of no return.

Is your faith journey leading you to the cross? Are you willing to risk all and identify with the cross of Christ?