Of all the characters that Jesus Christ comes face to face with in the four Gospels, I am choosing to write on Nicodemus, the peculiar Pharisee. Before he met Jesus Christ, Nicodemus was a part of the Pharisees and a ruler of the Jews. He was high, respected and above many in the Temple. He was also, as a Pharisee, looked up to by the people of the land for spiritual advice and on matters concerning the Bible and the law.
For Nicodemus, everything was going according to how it should be. He was a major ruler in the land of Israel and people looked up to him; but suddenly this man shows up, out of no where, on the scene causing confusion and disturbing the peace that was in the land. He travelled all around the country performing miracles, healing the sick and the lame, and bringing people back from the dead. He also was rebuking the Pharisees, Sadducees and the elders of the Temple for not having faith in the Messiah, calling them snakes and destroyers of the Word of God. He then began to claim something completely over the line: that he was the Son of God. That is heresy and is against everything that the Temple stands for. How could he say such a thing as this? This man’s name was Jesus of Nazareth, the son of a carpenter, of all things. How could a carpenter from Nazareth cause so much confusion and chaos in the Temple?
On the day of Passover, Jesus had come to the Temple to worship and offer a sacrifice to His Father, the God of all things, but when He entered into the Temple there were money changers in there with their tables and cages earning money off of the people who needed a sacrifice for the Passover. Jesus became furious. He made a whip and started to drive out all that were selling and buying in the House of the Almighty God. And He said to them that sold sacrifices, “Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.”(John 2:16) Nicodemus was among the crowd, watching all of this take place, in pure amazement. The Jews questioned Jesus by saying, “What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?”(John 2:18) He answered, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”(John 2:19) The people, along with the Pharisees, wondered what this meant. How could he rebuild this Temple in three days? Last time it was rebuilt it took Fortysix years to be finished. This statement left the people in wonder, even more so for Nicodemus.
Nicodemus finally could not stand it any longer. He had to go and talk with this Jesus; he had so many questions for Him. So one night Nicodemus sought Jesus out and when he had found Him he said, “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.”(John 3:2) To this Jesus answered him saying, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3) Nicodemus was very much puzzled by this answer. He asked how a man could be born again when he is old. Jesus had answered by telling him that we need to be born again in the Spirit not the flesh. Here we see Jesus quote to Nicodemus the gospel and the most life changing verse in the Bible, John 3:16. Through this he reveals to Nicodemus that He truly is the Son of the Most High God. Hearing these words changed Nicodemus forever. They showed him the truth and from then on he proclaimed the name of Jesus in the Temple.
Nicodemus is not mentioned much after this encounter, but later on he is mentioned when there was a dispute in Galilee between the people whether or not Jesus was a prophet. The Pharisees were trying to get Jesus arrested for this “heresy” by saying that he was against the the law of Moses before they would even listen to Him speak. Nicodemus jumps in on the conversation and starts to defend Jesus by saying, “Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth?”(John 7:51). Here he is rebuking the Pharisees for their judgement on Christ, but they would not hear him. After this, we do not see him until the death of Jesus when he brings myrrhs and aloes to bathe Jesus’ body in before they buried him in the tomb.
From Nicodemus, we can see that through his curiosity of the words of Jesus Christ, he found the everlasting light into a holy life and through Him, I am sure that there was much change within the Temple. Becoming a follower of Christ while being a Pharisee was a great risk for Nicodemus. He could have been killed for what he probably said or did within the Temple. This took great courage and possible sacrifice on his part.
“Jesus doesn’t hold back with Nicodemus. Following Jesus would require a commitment that would cost Nicodemus a great deal….In fact, it’s true throughout all of Scripture….Following Jesus isn’t something you can do at night where no one notices. It’s a twenty-four-hour-a-day commitment that will interfere with your life. That’s not the small-print–that’s a guarantee.”- Kyle Idleman1
1 Kyle Idleman, Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus, 2011 http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/784932jesusdoesntholdbackwithnicodemusfollowingjesus wouldrequire, (1 June, 2011)