“Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, ‘Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.’” (John 3:1-2).

A conflict had undoubtedly been storming the heart and mind of Nicodemus, a member of the supreme council and tribunal of the Jews (the Sanhedrin). As seen in this passage, he chose to separate himself from others in order to speak privately with Jesus. Significantly, he came under the cover of darkness.

Nicodemus was likely a judicious, sensible, and inquisitive man who possessed tremendous familiarity with what we know today as the Old Testament. Through study of the Scriptures, he would have been knowledgeable of the historical record of both God’s interactions with the nation Israel and its chosen, flawed fathers of the faith.

Yet Jesus—this seeming radical who effortlessly performed miracles which exceeded those of the prophets—consistently demonstrated mind-boggling recall and understanding of the Scriptures. Perhaps equally astounding to Nicodemus was the man’s ability to tie them into everyday living with searing, inarguable logic.

And unlike those Nicodemus rubbed shoulders with, Jesus was as gracious, loving, and joyful as he was unafraid and capable of dismantling the nastiest and most complicated scenarios the religious leaders could throw at Him.

* * *

It would be no surprise if Nick began losing sleep over Jesus. Not so much about how to get rid of Him, but in wonder of how Jesus could perform such miracles, possess such wisdom, shamelessly love the unlovely, and yet be the godless heathen he and the spiritual leaders had been viewing Him as.

Labeling Jesus as someone apart from God no longer made sense.

Who was Jesus, anyway?

* * *

Whatever his questions, Nick was driven to seek out an uninterrupted, out of the public eye conversation with this man who was turning the world upside down. Nicodemus’ standing as a ruling member of the Sanhedrin might suffer should he be observed having an honest dialogue with Jesus about eternal things. He also perhaps sensed the wisdom of the Nazarene would reduce his own keen intellect to rubble while discussing the deeper things of God—and thought better of having this occur before the masses. Jesus’ brilliance was humbling.

So, perhaps, it came to be:

Nick, at night.

* * *

Jesus met His nighttime visitor with graciousness and truth. He listened to Nicodemus’ carefully worded greeting and, knowing fully the Pharisee’s internal struggles, went directly to what mattered most:

“Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3).

Yes, let’s talk about Jehovah God, Nick. I’ll not hide anything from you. Your position, status, and trust in your accomplishments mean nothing to My Father. You need to have a spiritual rebirth or you won’t be a part of His kingdom.

Jesus spoke and Nicodemus listened. Yet already, the brilliant Pharisee was confused. He swallowed any pride he may have had and asked questions, ushering in for us some of the most profound, endearing, and wonderful words of life ever recorded:

John 3:3-21

* * *

Although Nicodemus had his own reasons for coming to Jesus covertly, how like our sovereign God to share truths in the night which need to be heard regarding spiritual darkness and Light! (John 3:16-21)

And knowing the meaning of Nicodemus’ name, in biblical Greek, makes these interactions all the more profound:

Victory Of The [Common] People

When you think about it, everything about Nicodemus’ name points to Jesus. He was meeting with the One his colleagues despised for having the masses or common people as His followers. And the Lord was telling him what must occur for true victory—how to become part of the kingdom of God!

Nick, however, was having a tough time grasping it. Jesus then asked him,

 “Are you not the teacher of Israel and do not understand these things?”

It was God’s plan for Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews, to know Jesus was the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). God the Son continued pouring into Nicodemus teachings leading to spiritual security and victory through faith:

Our common need to be born again.

Jesus spoke truth to Nicodemus regarding the physical world and the spiritual world. We have a physical birth yet need to have the second birth of which Jesus taught; that which is spiritual. This second birth transfers the believer in God’s Son from the realm of spiritual death to spiritual life.

* * *

Whether Nicodemus went home fully understanding everything Jesus shared with Him, we know at some point in time he ended up “getting it.” Because where we next find Nick in the Scriptures—and what he’s doing—is radically different.

* * *

John 19:38-39: After these things, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate granted permission. So he came and took away his body. Nicodemus, who had first come to Him by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds’ weight.”

We see our friend Nick is not running with the hostile religious pack, here, but working under difficult conditions alongside a disciple of Christ. An article of interest (linked below) brings understanding of the Jewish burial customs of Christ’s day and celebratory preparations of a bridegroom for His bride. These known customs more than suggest Nicodemus’ acts in John 19 as a brazen, “let the whole world know” belief in Jesus Christ as the Messiah who would rise victorious from the grave. (The one hundred pound mixture of myrrh oil and aloes Nicodemus brought, based on the cost of that which Mary poured over Jesus in worship, was the equivalent of one hundred years of a common man’s wage.)

Hello. My name is ‘Victory Of The People’.

And I’m going public. Jesus is the coming Bridegroom who isn’t going to stay in this tomb!

* * *

While I’m uncertain as to the article’s take on the exchange between Jesus and Nicodemus from an intellectual sparring or somewhat amusing standpoint (I believe Jesus takes life and death issues of critical import, always), it brings to light misconceptions I’ve had regarding the Jewish burial custom and celebratory significance of the spices Nicodemus brought to the tomb.

Consider accessing the below link from Abarim Publications and begin reading in the subsection, ‘Nicodemus and the myrrh oil’. You may never view “Nick at Night” or the events surrounding the placing of Christ’s body in the tomb the same!

You are loved.





People Lover. Author. Blogger. Speaker. Forgiven Much & Wild About God. Learn about June's latest book on her website.

One Comment

  • Brad says:

    Yeah God that Jesus did not stay in the tomb!! Love this story of Nicodemus coming at night. Jesus is still ready to meet us – day or night.

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