Who was Nicodemus in the New Testament?

BibleAsk Team


Nicodemus is mentioned in the gospel of John. He was a devout wealthy Jew, a Pharisee, and a member of the national council – the Sanhedrin (John 7:50-51). But unlike the majority of the Pharisees who persecuted, rejected, and crucified Jesus, Nicodemus believed in Him as the Messiah and became one of His supporters.

The apostle John wrote that Nicodemus sought to meet with Jesus at the beginning of His ministry. He came to see Jesus secretly at night because of fear of the Jews. Jesus read his thoughts and knew that he was a sincere seeker of the truth. So, He told him that he “must be born again” (John 3:3).

Nicodemus acknowledged the impossibility of rebirth. And he wondered: could a devout Jew be in need of such experience? Then, Jesus explained to him, “unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). Jesus was referring to John’s baptism of water and to the anointing of the Holy Spirit that the pharisees rejected.

Nicodemus expected to be ushered into the kingdom of God as a natural-born, devout Jew, but Jesus announced that anything less than a complete change of character by the power of the Holy Spirit was insufficient (Romans 6:3–6). Those who are born from above must resemble their heavenly Father in character (1 John 3:1–3) and by His grace live lives victorious over sin (Romans 6:12–16).

Because of his sincerity, Jesus went on and revealed the ultimate expression of God’s love to humanity: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). And He predicted that He will be lifted up (John 3:14) signifying what type of death He will suffer. This was the highest illustration of mercy. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).

In John 7, Nicodemus appears in the narrative again when some Pharisees ordered the temple guards to arrest Jesus, but the guards could not do that because of His holy Words (John 7:32–47). The Pharisees rebuked the guards. But Nicodemus said: “Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?” (John 7:51). Nicodemus begged for just and fair judgement, according to the law. However, the pharisees dismissed his warnings accusing him of sympathy to Jesus.

And in John 19, we read that Nicodemus publicly helped Joseph of Arimathea, who was also a wealthy man and a member of the Council (Mark 15:43) in preparing for Jesus’ burial. Joseph asked Pilate for the body of Jesus to place in his tomb and Nicodemus bought 75 pounds of spices for the burial preparation. This large quantity was purchased at considerable price. Thus, Nicodemus publicly expressed his love and loyalty for the Savior and was among His faithful followers.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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