My mental picture of Nicodemus depicted this leader of the Jewish people as a relatively short man with a muscular build. He seemed to me to be a man up in years, educated with a caring countenance. The photo at the right could be more in tune to his true physical appearance, but irregardless, it is his spiritual nature on which we must focus.
In the Gospel of John, chapter 3, we are introduced to Nicodemus. John tells us that he was a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin, the high court in Israel. In addition to being learned in the Old Testament Scripture, Nicodemus possessed a wise inquiring mind and was not satisfied with the legalism of the Pharisees. He could not rest until he found the truth which he badly wanted to understand. Although he seem to be a courageous man, Nicodemus personally sought out Jesus during the night. Perhaps he discerned that he would have a greater opportunity in talking with Jesus alone while others slept or as some scholars believe, he was fearful of being seen by the Jewish brethren.
The Lord welcomed Nicodemus and understood that he came to him not as a ruler to discuss the affairs of State, but as a man concerned about his soul. Jesus immediately began to share with him the necessity of being born again. Even though he misunderstood what Jesus was teaching, Nicodemus acknowledged his ignorance, which showed the Lord his desire to be better informed. Needless to say, our New Testament friend was somewhat perplexed. How could a man be born again when he was old? The Lord went on to explain the two births, the physical and the spiritual, emphasizing once again that man needed to be born again in order to enter into the kingdom of heaven. How can these things be, asked the inquisitive Nicodemus?
In His wisdom, Jesus referred Nicodemus to the Old Testament account of the Serpent in the Wilderness, whereby giving him insight into the scriptures of which Nicodemus was much aware. In comparing himself to the serpent in the wilderness, Christ was able to help this seeker of the truth to understand that only by looking unto Jesus, could a man be saved from the sting of spiritual death; separation from God, for eternity. Jesus went on to comment that as man believeth on the saving power of the serpent to save him from physical death, man must now look unto Christ to be saved from Spiritual death.
The third chapter of the Book of John reveals these truths to man today. Mans inability to understand what Jesus is saying is indicative of a fallen, sinful heart and has nothing to do with ones level of intelligence. Even as Nicodemus knew the Scriptures quite well, we must realize as he did that knowing the Bible is not enough; one must believe in the Living Word. the Lord Jesus Christ. John 1:1.
Although the scripture does not specifically state that Nicodemus believed in Jesus, we do know that his life indicated that a regeneration had taken place within his heart. We learn in John 7: 50-53 that much to the frustration of his fellow Pharisees, Nicodemus defended Christ when he was being judged unfairly according to Jewish Law. After his death, it was Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea who cared for the body of our Saviour, disregarding their own safety and reputation. The anointing spices for the Lords body were provided mainly by Nicodemus, some 75#’s of myrrh.
In studying the Biblical biography of Nicodemus, one must admit that it is clear that once a person does accept the Lord Jesus as their Savior, old things do pass away; all things do become new. My friend, as you consider this man’s life, let me encourage you to become a seeker of the truth. The Holy Spirit of God will open your eyes that the god of this world (Satan) has blinded that you will be able to understand as Nicodemus did; you need but ask. Let me close with that most precious verse: John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in His name shall not perish, but have everlasting life.