Nicodemus: 9 Powerful Insights from the Gospel Story

Have you ever felt like you are on an “uncommon pathway”?
You may feel called by God but wonder how He can use you in this situation—or, at this stage in your life.
Take heart from these insights from the story of Nicodemus, along with my prayerful reflections.

Today, no matter where you are, or your manner of service to Jesus:
God calls you victorious.


1. God Has Prepared a Unique Pathway for You

Nicodemus had a different journey from the other disciples of Jesus.
For a while, he was a secret follower.
Yet he turned out to be God’s key person in place at the right time.

  • And his final actions shouted louder than any words could

2. Your Questions are Significant

"Nicodemus God has prepared a unique pathway for you" text on image of a dark room with a wooden floorNicodemus first appears in the third chapter of John, when he visits Jesus under the cover of night.
“Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” (John 3:2, NKJV)
“We know.” There are more than one of us! [1]

During the conversation, Jesus explains the way of salvation and the need to be born-again. And Nicodemus asks, “How can these things be?”
Jesus exclaims, “Are you the teacher of Israel and do not know these things?”

Because of Nicodemus’ curiosity and hunger for God, the gift of John 3:16 is in the Bible.

  • A promise that belongs to us and our children, and generations to come:
    “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

3. Jesus’ Grace is Abundant Towards You

Nicodemus is a member of the Jewish council, the Sanhedrin—the governing religious body of this time.
He is also a Pharisee.

In the Gospels, Pharisees are often a target of Jesus’ exhortations and warnings, because of their emphasis on many religious rules.
And Jesus often calls them out for their hypocrisy!

  • Yet Jesus doesn’t tell Nicodemus to come out of his position or to renounce Pharisaism.

Instead, Jesus gives him the greatest gift imaginable, the Gospel message.
And so, Nicodemus becomes a believer hidden in plain sight—in the highest place in society.


4. God’s Timing is Perfect

The time comes for the great Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem, and the Jewish leaders seek to arrest Jesus.
But He proves elusive.

Suddenly, midway through the gathering, Jesus appears and begins to teach in the Temple.
Then at the height of the celebration, Jesus shouts to the crowd, “Anyone who believes in me may come and drink!” (See John 7:37-39) And speaks of the Holy Spirit, the water of life.

  • By this, He declares, “I am the fulfillment of this ceremony!”

The temple guards report the commotion and Jesus’ words to the leading priests and Pharisees.

Astounded that the guards have not followed through on their orders, the leaders demand,
“Why have you not brought Him?”
To which the officers answer, “No man ever spoke like this Man!”


5. Sometimes, God’s Wisdom is in the Waiting

Then the Pharisees answered them, “Are you also deceived? Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed in Him?” (John 7:45-48, NKJV)

We notice that Nicodemus has still not spoken up about his faith in Jesus.
And he doesn’t now, despite the clear opportunity to take a public stand. John tells us,
“Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” (John 12:42-43, NKJV)

  • Is Nicodemus motivated by the fear of losing his position—or, is he biding his time in wisdom?

Ecclesiastes chapter 3 says,
“To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven…” (v1)
“…a time to be silent and a time to speak.” (7b)


6. There is a Time to Stand for Justice

Finally, amongst the leaders, Nicodemus does speak up:
“Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?” (John 7:49, NKJV)

Nicodemus’ question to the Jewish Council is powerful because the answer exposes their injustice and Jesus’ innocence. They are not willing to give Jesus a fair trial.
So, Nicodemus’ words are recorded in the Gospel as a witness.


7. Your Humble Service is Powerful to God

Nicodemus next appears as he joins Joseph of Arimathea, to help prepare Jesus’ body for burial.
He supplies the spices, the myrrh, and aloes—a precious and weighty commodity.
Then together, the men quickly bind Jesus’ body in strips of linen, according to the burial custom.
And lay Jesus’ body reverently in a new tomb.

We can only wonder at their grief, prayers, and reflections, considering that:

  • A few weeks earlier, Lazarus walked out of a tomb clothed in these same strips—a sign of what was coming.
  • The following day, Nicodemus’ peers, the leading priests, and Pharisees, visit Pilate—insisting that the tomb be sealed. They vividly recollect Jesus’ claims to rise on the third day.

So, it follows that Nicodemus, who paid close attention to Jesus, also knew this.


8. God will Use Your Service in Unexpected Ways

The next we learn of Nicodemus’ and Joseph’s handiwork is from John.
Peter and John, having heard the news of Jesus’ resurrection from Mary, come running to the empty tomb and step inside.

“The linen wrappings were lying there, while the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded up and lying apart from the other wrappings” (John 20: 6-7)
In the instant he sees the grave clothes, John believes.

Nicodemus and Joseph’s service was sacrificial—for the empty grave was about to become central to a Roman investigation.
Their involvement may soon come under the spotlight.

  • John recognizes Nicodemus’ significant role and honors him by recording his story in his Gospel.

9. God Calls You Victorious

This wonderful story, filled with grace, love, and drama, reminds us of this:

  • You may have felt behind the scenes, but He wants you to know, it’s never too late to emerge

Nicodemus’ name means “victorious among the people”.
Today, no matter where you are, or your manner of service to Jesus:
God calls you victorious.


Notes:
[1] John tells us later that Nicodemus was not the only secret believer among the leaders: See John 12:42

If these notes have inspired you, I encourage you to read the full story in John chapters 3, 7, and 19-20.


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Leave a Comment

Has this insight about Nicodemus impacted you? Which point do you most relate to right now? I’m encouraged by the thought that God has a unique pathway for each of us, but my mind was blown at point 8! I’d love to hear your thoughts—so, leave your insight or prayer request in the comments box below.


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