God specialises in finding and changing people we consider out of reach. It took a while for Nicodemus to come out of the dark, but God was patient with this “undercover” believer.
Afraid of being discovered, Nicodemus made an appointment to see Jesus at night. Daylight conversations between Pharisees and Jesus tended to be antagonistic, but Nicodemus really wanted to learn. He probably got a lot more than he expected – a challenge to a new life! We know very little about Nicodemus, but we know that he left that evening’s encounter a changed man. He came away with a whole new understanding of both God and himself.
Nicodemus next appears as part of the Jewish council. As the group discussed ways to eliminate Jesus, Nicodemus raised the question of justice. Although his objection was overruled, he had spoken up. He had begun to change.
Our last picture of Nicodemus shows him joining Joseph of Arimathea in asking for Jesus’ body in order to provide for its burial. Realising what he was risking, Nicodemus was making a bold move. He was continuing to grow.
God looks for steady growth, not instant perfection. How well does your present level of spiritual growth match up to how long you have known Jesus?
Strengths and accomplishments:
- One of the few religious leaders who believed in Jesus
- A member of the powerful Jewish council
- A Pharisee who was attracted by Jesus’ character and miracles
- Joined with Joseph of Arimathea in burying Jesus
Weakness and mistake:
- Limited by his fear of being publicly exposed as Jesus’ follower
Lessons from his life:
- Unless we are born again, we can never be part of the kingdom of God
- God is able to change those we might consider unreachable
- God is patient, but persistent
- If we are available, God can use us
- Where: Jerusalem
- Occupation: Religious leader
- Contemporaries: Jesus, Annas, Caiaphas, Pilate, Joseph of Arimathea
Key verse: “ ‘How can a man be born when he is old?’ Nicodemus asked. ‘Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!’ “ (John 3:4).
Nicodemus’ story is told in John 3:1 – 21; 7:50 – 52; and 19:39, 40.