Nicodemus and Jesus part 2
by John Thomas Lowe
Q7 - Conclusion
As you consider the story of Nicodemus, where do you see yourself? Are you a private truth seeker under cover of darkness? Are you one who wants to know more about Jesus and His truths? Are you wanting to know more about salvation, heaven, and being born again? Or are you a leader in your sphere of influence which only verbally and perhaps timidly speaks regarding spiritual matters? Or are you one who boldly and tangibly takes action to defend the honor and mission of Jesus Christ?
Nicodemus the Pharisee
It is now about six months before the end of Jesus' earthly ministry. It is most likely that Nicodemus was aware of what Jesus had been up to since their original night-time meeting. He probably was aware of Jesus' continued healing and teachings.
In John 7:50-51, we see Nicodemus speaking to a gathering of the Pharisees. However, the Pharisees were growing impatient and frustrated with Jesus and had planned an unlawful seizure of Him by the temple guards. Nicodemus speaks up in Jesus' defense:
"Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus earlier and who was one of their own number, asked, 'Does our law condemn anyone without first hearing him find out what he is doing?'" v50-51.
Nicodemus did not make a straightforward declaration of faith in Jesus. Instead, he protests an unlawful action based on their own rule of law. To declare Jesus the Son of God at this point would not have changed the Pharisee's minds, but by raising a legitimate legal objection, he could protect Jesus.
Isn't it ironic that the Pharisees, who were such sticklers for keeping the law, circumvented it for their reasons when it came to Jesus?
Nicodemus had turned from seeker/skeptic to defender.
Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea
Our last look into the story of Nicodemus comes after Jesus' crucifixion.
"Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews. With Pilate's permission, he came and took the body away. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus' body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen." John 19:38-40 NIV.
Like Nicodemus, Joseph was a member of the Sanhedrin. They abandoned Jesus in fear and confusion. Isn't it interesting that two members of the Sanhedrin attended to Jesus, but not one of the 12 disciples helped?
Nicodemus and Joseph were both wealthy, powerful men. (The amount of burial spices Nicodemus provided was costly. The extensive amount was typical for the burial of kings.) Nicodemus' cooperation with Joseph in burying Jesus shows us his love and devotion. Nicodemus' faith had finally matured to the point where he courageously stepped out with Joseph and gave Jesus a private burial. Their actions showed they were willing to give up everything to care for Jesus.
What Happened to Nicodemus?
The Biblical story of Nicodemus ends with Jesus' burial. My Bible commentary states that neither man appears in the Jewish records or traditions of their time, presumably because they were seen as traitors; their names were erased from all records.
The Bible does not tell us their fate. Our answers will come in heaven. However, until then, I believe Nicodemus was an honest seeker who progressed to defending Jesus in court and boldly proclaimed his faith by his actions.
What did Nicodemus Learn from Jesus?
In the beginning, Nicodemus was the "teacher of teachers" but still did not understand being born of the Spirit. However, Nicodemus sought out Jesus for answers to his honest questions. He learned that acting "religious" and knowing Scripture would not gain him entrance into heaven.
Each of us must study the person of Jesus for ourselves and decide if we believe that He is whom He says He is- our Savior. He is not put off by your honest questions!
We often see Nicodemus described as an "undercover" believer. It took a while for Nicodemus to grow firm enough in his faith to act on it. However, Jesus was patient with Nicodemus and is the same with you and me. God is on the lookout for our spiritual growth!
How does your faith manifest itself in actions?
Are there areas in your life where you are an "undercover" believer?
Nicodemus surrendered his life to Jesus when he came out in public and assisted Joseph in His burial. His faith and devotion to his Messiah triumphed over his fear of losing his wealth and power. Furthermore, this was before the resurrection! Oh, how I wish we knew more of Nicodemus' story!
Do you speak up for Jesus to unbelievers?
Has fear ever stopped you from defending Jesus?
Lessons From Nicodemus
•We all may have a bit of a Pharisee in us from time to time, but the Holy Spirit lives within us to convict us and lead us to confession and genuine change.
•When Nicodemus hid his interest and faith in Jesus, he gained material things: he kept his status, power, wealth, and position. However, he lost out on the personal teachings of Jesus, a life lived with Him on earth, and the presence of His peace and joy in his life.
When he boldly came forward for Jesus, he most likely lost his reputation and job. However, he gained eternal life!
A life lived in a relationship with Jesus is a daily surrender that will always cost us something.
When we allow Jesus into our lives, He becomes our priority, satisfaction, and peace. No idol, possession or relationship compares. As committed followers, we realize He is worth infinitely more than anything or anyone else. He alone brings joy and peace into our earthly lives as we await our forever life with Him in heaven.
If we face rejection by others because of our faith, they reject Him, not us. Do not take it personally- be "anxious about nothing "! (Philippians 4:6)