Who Was Nicodemus In The Bible?
KEY SCRIPTURES: John 3:1-21; John 7:50-51; John 19:39-42; Isaiah 55:7
Isaiah 55:7 “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”
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Nicodemus who was a Pharisee and one of the rulers of the Jews made his first appearance in the scripture in John Chapter 3. Nicodemus came to Jesus at night because he was afraid to be seen with him in the day since most Pharisees doubted Jesus’ teaching and operated under self-righteousness. Nicodemus believed Jesus must have come from God because nobody has ever done the miracles He did. Nicodemus must have been a man with a soft heart who genuinely wanted to serve the Living God though he may have struggled with similar self-righteous and proud sins the other Pharisees did. When Jesus saw Nicodemus, he knew he was different from others. Nicodemus came to Jesus to search out the truth about salvation, Jesus knowing the content of his heart told him the things to be done for someone to be see the kingdom of God, which is be being born-again, Nicodemus was astonished by the word spoken by Jesus and began to ask questions from Jesus. Nicodemus seems incredulous but Jesus reprimanded him gently that he was supposed to know the words spoken by Jesus since he was a ruler. Jesus went further to explain the meaning of new birth to him which brought about the context in John 3:16, which is the most common and used verse in the Bible.
In John Chapter 7, Nicodemus was seen among the Sanhedrin when they were considering what to do with Jesus after the division of the people. Some of the Pharisees and priests were asking the temple guards why they couldn’t arrest Jesus as they were sent to do. The guards were upbraided by the Pharisees in authority, but Nicodemus was seen addressing the Pharisees and everyone present his opinion as that Jesus should not be condemned or dismissed until they have heard from Jesus. However, some of them were not in agreement with what he said and rudely dismissed Nicodemus’s suggestion.
Lastly, in John Chapter 19 after Jesus’ crucifixion, Nicodemus name was mentioned again after he assisted Joseph of Arimathea in Jesus’ burial. Nicodemus brought 75 pounds of spices for use in preparation of Jesus’ body for burial and then assisted Joseph in wrapping the body and placing it in the tomb. Nicodemus must have secretly been a disciple of Jesus Christ after that night but was afraid of Jews and considering the number of burial spices he brought, it shows that he was a rich man and had great respect for Jesus. Some people might have seen Nicodemus as a hero for defending Jesus before the Sanhedrin and helping to give him a proper burial while another book of thought considered him a coward who concealed his faith. The encounter between Nicodemus and Jesus taught us many things , chief among them is that we should look from God’s point of view, we need spiritual eyesight to see the kingdom and the things that come from God. In this article, we will be learning who Nicodemus was in the bible and things learnt from his encounter with Jesus.
- BE SPIRITUALLY ALERT: Isaiah 55:6-7
The moment Nicodemus came to Jesus at night, despite him being a ruler of the Jews and a Pharisees, it was revealed he was spiritually blind, dead, and lost. He was ignorant of the basic and fundamental truth of the gospel. He was just a blind follower and just morally upright. It was good that he had an inquiring mind and thirst for the truth which made him search for it diligently. We have some believers who go to church, but they are not spiritually grounded on the fundamental truths about the gospel, they are spiritually blind, dead, and lost like Nicodemus. In all these, Jesus is ever ready to meet the need of a seeking soul, Jesus’ teachings are pure, of good standard and command authority too. You can only be a born-again Christian by a radical work of grace in your heart which is termed as salvation, conversion or being born again in the scriptures.
- SALVATION IS REGENERATION: 2 Corinthians 5:17
Many like Nicodemus practice religion or reformation which is not God’s way of salvation. To be spiritually re-birth doesn’t mean an outward change but means having a new nature, the giving of a new life, starting of the life of God in the soul. It is not just patching up the old broken-down life but total regeneration of the spirit, mind, and soul. This was taught by Jesus when he said that one must be born of the spirit and water. You own being as a Christian must function and be patterned according to the ways and will of God. You are bought with a price and can’t afford to live life recklessly. To see the kingdom of God, salvation is essential, and we simply must be born again if we are going to heaven to live forever with the Lord. We can’t afford to miss this beautiful gift bestowed to us by God.
- NOBODY IS TOO OLD TO BE BORN-AGAIN: John 1:12
According to Jesus’ response to Nicodemus, being born-again is not about the physical ways of giving birth but it talks about the spiritually born from above. No matter how old you are, you can still be born again. Being born again doesn’t matter the age but the sincerity of the heart and the willingness for the regeneration of the mind, soul, and spirit. There is no single word in the scriptures that talks about the age in which you can be born again, or which led us to believe that older people can’t be born again. Salvation is for all who believe in regardless of your age, tribe, country etc. The only one way to be born-again is by trusting completely in Jesus through faith that you have passed from eternal damnation to eternal life he has to offer.
- BE BOLD TO DECLARE YOUR FAITH
Jesus gave the disciples the spirit of boldness after he left by fulfilling his promise of giving them the Holy Spirit. Once we are born again, we should never be timid about what people will say or worry about the scorn of people because we are a new nature in Christ. We are meant to showcase and be bold to tell others about Jesus. Nicodemus was at a point able to demonstrate this boldness when he assisted Joseph of Arimathea in burying Jesus. At that point, he didn’t care about what the Pharisees would say when he prepared Jesus’ body with spices. We should never be silent followers of Jesus but be bold enough to tell of his great gift to mankind.
God didn’t send His son, Jesus into the world to condemn or judge but that through him, the world will be saved. Even though it was difficult for Nicodemus to understand what Jesus was teaching him about the kingdom of God, Jesus further explained things to him, and he was able to reflect on what he had learnt about Jesus’ role in God’s purpose. This made him defend Jesus in later verses of the Bible and openly assisted in his burial. Nicodemus coming to Jesus helped reflect on what we as Christians needed to do to be saved and be born again.