Who Was Nicodemus In The Bible?
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Who Was Nicodemus In The Bible?

Nicodemus, a prominent Pharisee and member of the ruling council, was searching for answers. However, Nicodemus believed Jesus had the answers.

God is focused on reaching out to those whom he considers unreachable. Although Nicodemus was reluctant to speak out, God was patient with this “undercover” Christian.

We don’t know much about Nicodemus. In the book, John only mentions his story three times. He visited Jesus at night for the first time. He also appeared in the Jewish high council, Sanhedrin. He also brought 100 pounds of expensive spices to Joseph of Arimathea‘s burial of Jesus.

The Bible contains an interesting person named ;Nicodemus. We don’t know everything, but we know Nicodemus left that evening’s encounter as a changed man. He left that evening with a new understanding of God and himself.

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Who was Nicodemus?

Are you curious about the Bible Nicodemus?

Like Lazarus, Nicodemus is not significant from a biblical historical perspective. Only three times was he mentioned in the Gospel of John. God used Nicodemus‘ private conversation to demonstrate how we can have a personal relationship with Him.

Nicodemus, the Pharisee

The Pharisees pledged to follow all the traditions and apply God’s laws. These customs and their interpretations were as important for them as God’s law. Jesus didn’t condemn the teachings of the Pharisees. Jesus condemned the hypocritical attitude of religious leaders.

Jesus and John The Baptist frequently denounced the Pharisees as hypocrites. Pharisees viewed themselves as an elite group who only knew the truth. Because it was not their truth, they resisted the truth regarding Jesus.

John 3:3 describes Nicodemus as a Pharisee and a member of the powerful Jewish high council known as the Sanhedrin. The Sanhedrin is the supreme court of ancient Israel.

Nicodemus was one of the few Pharisees to believe in Jesus. He was a Pharisee attracted to Jesus‘ miracles and character.

Nicodemus was also rich and held a prominent post as a Pharisee. Even though conversations between Jesus Christ and the Pharisees were often antagonistic, Nicodemus knew there was more to the story.

Nicodemus in John’s Gospel

Here is a list of Nicodemus‘ appearances in the Gospel of John.

John 3 identifies Nicodemus as a Pharisee who secretly approached Jesus at night. Why did he do it at night? He was probably afraid of the opinions of his peers about his visit.

He was also mentioned again when he defended Jesus at the Jewish council ( John 7, 50-51). Many of the Pharisees hated Jesus and wanted to seize Him. Nicodemus was a secret believer and risked his reputation by speaking in favor of Jesus.

The Bible’s last mention of Nicodemus was after Jesus‘ death ( John 19;39). To prepare for Jesus‘ burial, he brought 75 pounds of perfumed ointment. Nicodemus showed great respect for Jesus by bringing 75 pounds of perfumed ointment from myrrh, aloe, and other ingredients.

Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea

Joseph of Arimathea (and Nicodemus) were wealthy, well-respected members of the Sanhedrin. Both were secret disciples of Jesus, and his death changed their lives. They were initially afraid to declare their loyalty due to their high ranking in the Sanhedrin.

To avoid the Sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus had to rush to bury Jesus. Nicodemus helped wrap Jesus‘ body before he carried it to the tomb. His expensive spices are evidence that he is a powerful and wealthy man.

Like Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, Nicodemus bravely took a stand that could have cost him his place in the council. They took a risk with their reputations and bravely went out to ensure Jesus‘ burial. They came out of hiding to give Jesus a proper burial. They showed that they were willing to give everything to follow Jesus.

Nicodemus and Jesus

Nicodemus‘s encounter with Jesus was a significant turning point in his life. He probably received much more than he anticipated, from secretly meeting Jesus to helping Joseph Arimathea bury Jesus. Here is a brief overview of Nicodemus‘ journey with Jesus the Messiah.

What was the reason Nicodemus approached Jesus at night?

The scriptures do not tell us why Nicodemus approached Jesus in the night. Many believed he was afraid of being found by his peers. Perhaps he was afraid of what his peers would think about him. These are just a few of the hypotheses.

  1. Did he want to know the truth about Jesus’ miracle-working abilities?
  2. Did he visit Jesus as a Pharisaic delegate to the Jewish council?
  3. He waits for the crowds to thin since it is the day after the Passover.
  4. Did he fear losing his wealth and position if he was spotted with Jesus?
  5. Did he believe that Jesus was a wise and knowledgeable seeker?

Whatever the reason, he came away with a new perspective on the Kingdom.

Jesus teaches Nicodemus

Nicodemus was a highly educated teacher, but he came to Jesus for instruction. He knew deep down that Jesus was the one who could reveal the great truth. He believed the young teacher might be God’s Messiah for Israel.

Nicodemus was able to talk with Jesus and was confronted immediately with the truth that “he must be born again” ( John 3:13). Nicodemus took Jesus’ words literally and challenged the reality of physical birth. When Jesus explained the importance and benefits of spiritual rebirth, he confused Nicodemus further. He said that spiritual rebirth is the only way to enter the Kingdom.

Jesus gently corrected Nicodemus when he saw that he seemed incredulous. Nicodemus was a Jewish teacher Bible who had a deep knowledge of the Old Testament but didn’t fully understand it. Jesus was determined to pursue Nicodemus‘ character.

Jesus explained to Nicodemus the difference between spiritual and physical birth. He also reminded him about the story of Moses and the Bronze Serpent in the Old Testament ( Numbers 21.4-8). Jesus revealed to Nicodemus that God did not send Jesus to condemn or judge the world but to save it from sin ( John 3:6).

Nicodemus defends Jesus

We next see Nicodemus in Bible when the Jewish leaders wanted to seize Jesus. They were jealous of Jesus because they couldn’t find a reason to arrest Him despite all the trivial laws they had.

Nicodemus made bold statements in opposition to the Pharisees‘ plans to kill Jesus. Nicodemus indirectly spoke for Jesus, risking his reputation and high-ranking position in the council. He was a secret follower of Jesus.

The Pharisees became suspicious even though he didn’t declare his faith in Jesus. The Pharisees attacked Nicodemus as he defended Jesus. They said, “Are you Galilean too?” You can search the Scriptures to see that no prophet has ever come from Galilee. (John 7:52).

What did Nicodemus learn from Jesus?

Nicodemus, a well-educated teacher, knew he had to learn more about the promised Messiah. He left that evening as a transformed man and with a challenge for a new way of living. What did Nicodemus learn from Jesus?

  • You don’t matter how smart or educated you may be, Jesus needs to see you with an open mind so that He can show you the truth about God.
  • It is up to us to examine Jesus. We will speak out for Him if we believe He is what He claims to be.
  • The Kingdom is personal and not national. Repentance or spiritual rebirth grants entry into heaven.
  • The Pharisees began to lose ground as their hypocritical motives were exposed. They started to defend themselves from their pride. It didn’t matter what was right or good.
  • Are you a secret believer? We should not be ashamed of the death of Jesus Christ.

Nicodemus buries Jesus

John 19.39 was the last time that Nicodemus was mentioned in the Bible. Nicodemus emerged from hiding to assist Joseph in the burial of Jesus. After his death, he carried seventy-five pounds of expensive perfumed myrrh ointment, aloes, to anoint Jesus’ body.

Two of the four people transformed by Jesus‘ death are Nicodemus (Nicodemus) and Joseph of Arimathea (Joseph of Arimathea). Jesus‘ death transformed them more than He was alive. They realized who Jesus was and began to believe, proclaim, and act accordingly.

Additional Facts About Nicodemus

Other insights are available about Nicodemus‘ motivation for making an appointment to see Jesus at night. Many believe he is a spy because there isn’t any clear evidence about his faith or trust in Jesus. Others can show that he truly seeks God.

Nicodemus is not a spy.

The Bible’s scholars have questioned the motivation for Nicodemus‘ visit. They claimed that he was a spy for the Sanhedrin. They claim that the high council sent him to trap Jesus. Is he a spy, then?

Many of the Jewish officials publicly challenged Jesus. Why, then, did Nicodemus sneak through the night to see Jesus?

He recognized that Jesus is a teacher from God. Is this the language of a disapproving inquirer

Nicodemus no longer acts in secret after Jesus‘ death. He came out of hiding to help in the burying of Jesus. Are you a secret believer?

Nicodemus, The Genuine Seeker

Nicodemus is a character in the Bible who had a personal encounter with Jesus. He is a Pharisee who associates with those who deeply resent Jesus. However, he is not trying to catch Jesus with the questions he asks him during his encounter with Jesus.

He seemed to have genuine respect for Jesus‘ miracles and character. He could have sent an assistant to Jesus, but he chose to visit him personally. He wanted to see Jesus for himself. He is bold enough to stand for Jesus during His crucifixion.

Nicodemus, Fearful Follower

Nicodemus‘ decision to go to Jesus at night was the first sign that he is a fearful follower. Although he believed Jesus knew the answers to all his questions, he was afraid of being exposed to his peers. He was afraid he would lose his high-ranking position in the council but also feared he wouldn’t be able to see the Messiah.

Nicodemus‘ fear of being exposed publicly as Jesus‘ follower limits his ability to be a Nicodemus. We cannot trust God because of the tension between our fear of man and our faith in Jesus. Fear keeps us from God. We know we have the seeds of faith in Jesus, but we don’t allow them to bear fruit.

Nicodemus’ Life Lessons

The secret visit Nicodemus made to Jesus that night profoundly impacted his entire life. These are some life lessons that Nicodemus learned from his life.

  1. We can’t be part of God’s Kingdom without being born again.
  2. God can change those whom we may not consider possible
  3. God is patient but also persistent
  4. God can use you if we are willing to serve His Kingdom

Summary – Who Was Nicodemus In The Bible?

Although we don’t know much about Nicodemus, his life had an important impact on the story of Jesus. Even though he was already an experienced teacher, he came to learn. Jesus‘ encounter with him is a perfect example of a personal relationship. He could have sent an assistant to Jesus since he was a high council member. He wanted to examine Jesus personally, so he went to see him.

Jesus, like Nicodemus, will continue to pursue us until we become transformed. As we grow spiritually, He calls us to be bold. God is looking for steady growth and not perfection in an instant.

Hopefully you have learned something from this article on who was Nicodemus in the Bible.

Pastor duke taber
Pastor Duke Taber

Pastor Duke Taber

All articles have been written or reviewed by Pastor Duke Taber.
Pastor Duke Taber is an alumnus of Life Pacific University and Multnomah Biblical Seminary.
He has been in pastoral ministry since 1988.
Today he is the owner and managing editor of 3 successful Christian websites that support missionaries around the world.
He is currently starting a brand new church in Mesquite NV called Mesquite Worship Center, a Non-Denominational Spirit Filled Christian church in Mesquite Nevada.