A “Fearful” Disciple

Nicodemus was an interesting character in the Bible and was especially intriguing to the Apostle John. During the time of Christ, Nicodemus was a member of the Jewish Supreme Court called the Sanhedrin and was a conservative religious leader, a Pharisee.  He would have been considered a scholar and well learned in the law.  John 3:1 says it this way, “Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council.”

If you are like me, you are thinking, “what a powerful witness this guy would be if he became a disciple of Jesus.” Here’s the thing.  He did go to Jesus, however, there is a caveat to this story.  John 3:2 states, “He came to Jesus at night.”  He did this secretly because he was afraid and would be ridiculed.

The 2nd time we hear about Nicodemus is found in John 7.  The Chief Priest and Pharisee sent the temple police out to arrest Jesus.  However, they refused…why?  They stated to the religious leaders, “No one ever spoke the way this man does.”  What a great opportunity for Nicodemus who was present in these discussions to step up.  He seemingly did in verse 51, 51 “Does our law condemn a man without first hearing him to find out what he has been doing?”  However, in verse 52, he received some push back. The other Pharisees replied, “Are you from Galilee, too? Look into it, and you will find that a prophet does not come out of Galilee.”  Nicodemus has a great opportunity to witness at the highest level.  Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Israel.  But, he didn’t.  Why?  He was afraid.

In John 19, after Jesus died, a rich man named Joseph petitioned Pilate (the Roman leader) in private to hand Jesus’ body over to him.  Pilate did.  It was all done secretly.  Guess who showed up?  Yep, you got it.  Nicodemus!  Don’t get me wrong.  Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds.  This was expensive stuff and was a sacrificial offering.  And, Nicodemus helped Joseph prepare Jesus’ body for burial.  A humble, sacrificial effort.  However, it was all done in secret.

How many of us are like Nicodemus?  We love Jesus and willing to do “sacrificial” things as long as this is done in a safe place.  Read the following passage recognizing in the power of Holy Spirit you can accept the challenge and be a fruitful proactive witness.  Romans 10:13-15 “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

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