Our world today is full of seekers - those seeking to find their fortunes, their worth, their ultimate goal in life. As believers we often follow suit, seeking to find our place in the world when we should learn a valuable lesson from the life of Nicodemus.
The gospel of John brings out the person of Nicodemus, placing him square at the heart of one of the Bible’s most well known verses, John 3:16. We all know this verse, but it is the context that surrounds it that brings to light what brought Nicodemus to see Jesus, not only for who He was, but for who Nicodemus was himself in Jesus.
God’s Word in John 3:1-21 shares the story of Nicodemus, a Pharisee, a religious leader. He was also a member of the Sanhedrin, the high court in Israel who stood to lose everything he had came to believe by seeking to know God through his belief in Jesus.
“Now there came a man of the Pharisees whose name was Nicodemus, a member of the council. He came to Jesus at night and said to Him, ‘Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could do the miraculous signs that You do unless God were with Him.’
“Jesus replied, ‘I tell you the solemn truth, unless a person is born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’
“Nicodemus said to Him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter his mother’s womb and be born a second time, can he?’
“Jesus answered, ‘I tell you the solemn truth, unless a person is born of water and spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ The wind blows wherever it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.’
“Nicodemus replied, ‘How can these things be?’
“Jesus answered, ‘Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you don’t understand these things? I tell you the solemn truth, we speak about what we know and testify about what we have seen, but you people do not accept our testimony. If I have told you people about earthly things and you don’t believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except the One who descended from heaven—the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life.’
“For this is the way God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son that everyone who believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through Him. The one who believes in Him is not condemned. The one who does not believe has been condemned already, because he has not believed in the Name of the one and only Son of God.
“Now this is the basis for judging: that the light has come into the world and people loved the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil deeds hates the light and does not come to the light, so that their deeds will not be exposed.
“But the one who practices the truth comes to the light, so that it may be plainly evident that his deeds have been done in God.’ ”
Every seeker has a deep feeling that there must be something more to life, a great truth to be discovered. That was the case with Nicodemus, who came to Jesus Christ at night because he suspected this young teacher might be the Messiah promised to Israel by God. Nicodemus learned that he must be born again, and he was.
Afterwards, the Bible tells of Nicodemus and his continued seeking of God and of his actions.
It was he who helped Joseph of Arimathea take Jesus' body down from the cross and lay it in a tomb, at great risk to his safety and reputation.
Nicodemus also donated 75 pounds of expensive myrrh and aloes to anoint Jesus' body after Jesus died.
Nicodemus had a wise, inquiring mind. He was not satisfied with the legalism of the Pharisees.
He had great courage. He personally sought out Jesus to ask questions and get the truth directly from Jesus' mouth. He also defied the Sanhedrin and Pharisees by treating Jesus' body with dignity and assuring that He received a proper burial.
What can we learn from Nicodemus? Nicodemus would not rest until he found the truth. He wanted badly to understand, and he sensed that Jesus had the answer. After he became a follower, his life was changed forever. He never hid his faith in Jesus again. Jesus is the source of all truth, the meaning of life. When we are born again, as Nicodemus was, we should never forget that we have forgiveness of our sins and eternal life because of Christ's sacrifice for us.
Keep being a seeker of God. We could never learn all He has for us. Be blessed.