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Dec 2, 2008

Who was Nicodemus?

by Vera Six

There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?

Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?

Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God
sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

(John 3:1-21 KJV)


What do we learn about Nicodemus?

He was a "master of Israel, a ruler of the Jews, which means he was a member of the grand Sanhedrin, a healthy Pharisee. He came to Jesus with his questions by night. Why was this at night? Did he fear daylight, being seen by others who would not have understood it that a man like he came to Jesus? We usually do not visit people at night when they might want to sleep. But Jesus let him in anyway. There is also the possibility that Nicodemus came by night, because he could not wait any longer for answers to come at daylight, but we will never really know. What do we do when we have questions that we would like to be answered?

He addresses Jesus as "Rabbi", so he accepted him as a teacher, even a teacher "come from God". He said they *knew*. Yet he did not dare to come by daylight. Nicodemus recognised that Jesus came from God by the miracles he was doing. Obviously they could not be done by others, sorcerers and the like.

One thing is striking me - Nicodemus was a man who had questions. Who can say how long he had been wrestling until he dared to go to Jesus and ask them all?

But what were the answers he received? Could they satisfy his longing to know of the kingdom of God? Jesus answered him before he had even asked his question. But Jesus' answers left him with more questions. Yet Jesus told him not to marvel...

Jesus was talking of the things to come... of the crucifixion, and that people could be saved by God's grace through faith in Him. Nicodemus could not understand Jesus at that time, but in the end he did when he went to Jesus' body on the cross...

And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus. And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. (John 19:38-40 KJV)

This Pharisee had seen the King and honored Him at daylight - Jesus had said, "But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God", and also, "He that believeth on him is not condemned." Varily, Nicodemus was born again.


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