TEXT: John 19:38-42
Today, we are going to talk about another “secret believer” who became an unsung hero of Easter. His name is Nicodemus. He was a Pharisee, and like Joseph of Arimathea, he was also a member of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish religious council. We mostly remember Nicodemus as the one who “came to Jesus by night.” The Jewish Talmud identifies Nicodemus as Nicodemus ben Gurion, one of the three richest men in Jerusalem at that time. It is said that the combined wealth of these three men could have kept Jerusalem running for 21 years.
After Jesus’ death, Nicodemus joined Joseph of Arimathea in taking Jesus’ body down from the cross. He provided expensive spices to be used in the burial of the Lord. Church tradition indicates that Nicodemus was martyred for the faith in the first century.
It does not appear that Nicodemus had an instantaneous conversion. Rather he went through a process of carefully considering Jesus’ words and actions, and eventually came to a conclusion about who Jesus was. Nicodemus enters the Gospel narrative three times, and each of his appearances tell us something about how he came to believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Saviour of the world.
1. The first time we see Nicodemus, we see that he is curious about Jesus. John 3:1-2 tells us, “There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night…” Nicodemus had heard about Jesus, and he realized that there was something special about him. The multitudes were flocking to hear Him. He was working great miracles. The commoners couldn’t stop singing His praises. Nicodemus was intrigued by this person named Jesus. He was curious about who He was.
2. The next time we see Nicodemus, we see that he is concerned about Jesus. In John chapter 7, the Pharisees are plotting to have Jesus arrested. They send men to capture Jesus, but the men come back empty-handed. When asked why they have not brought Jesus with them, the men respond, “Never man spake like this man.” The religious leaders are concerned that some of their own are beginning to believe on Jesus Christ. They want to put an end to Jesus’ teaching because he is drawing all of the attention away from them.
3. The third time we see Nicodemus, we find that he is committed to Jesus. In other words, he has decided to cast his lot with Jesus Christ and His followers. The Bible says, “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.”