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People of the Bible: Nicodemus

Who was Nicodemus?

Book of the Bible: John 3:1-15

Nicodemus is one of the first people we see interact with Jesus in the gospel of John. But after this initial encounter with him, we don’t see much more of him. Nicodemus was a religious leader during the time of Jesus. When Jesus was starting his ministry, these religious leaders wanted to see what he was all about. As we read through the gospels, we see that many of these leaders opposed Jesus very strongly.

We aren’t entirely sure what Nicodemus thought of Jesus, but we do know that he was curious. The Bible tells us that during the night, Nicodemus went to go see Jesus. The Bible makes it clear that he did not come during the day, but at night. That distinction has intrigued many people throughout history. We are left to wonder, why did he come at night?

There are a few different ways to look at it. Nicodemus could have come at night because he was afraid of what people would think about him. Jesus was not a popular figure within the religious leader group, to be caught talking to him could have done damage to his reputation. Some believe that Nicodemus went at night so that nobody else would know he went to see Jesus.

Another possibility is that nighttime was the time people gathered to have discussions with each other. If this were the case then Nicodemus was not hiding the fact that he was going to see Jesus, but he was simply operating in the customs of their culture.

One other possibility is that Nicodemus just could not wait until morning to talk to Jesus. His thoughts about Jesus could have been burning so deep within him that he had to go and find him immediately. Whatever the case, we do know that Nicodemus wanted answers, but what did he want answers to?

Nicodemus affirms Jesus by telling him that he is surely of God because of all the miraculous things he can do. But if we read between the lines, we can see that he wasn’t entirely sure what it all meant. And that is when Jesus went to the heart of the issue.

The religious leaders believed they had special rights through their lineage. They thought that because they were children of Abraham they were assured a place in God’s Kingdom. But in his typical fashion, Jesus takes this misunderstanding and turns it on its head. Jesus told Nicodemus that the only way to enter into God’s Kingdom and have eternal life is to be born again. Nicodemus questioned how anyone could actually be reborn, but Jesus specifies that it is a rebirth through the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that gives birth to spiritual life, and it is only through Jesus that this has been made available to us.

Another interesting fact is that Nicodemus appears only one more time, and it is at Jesus’s burial. We are led to believe that Nicodemus truly did believe in Jesus even though the other religious leaders had him killed. It seems that Nicodemus was experiencing the rebirth of the Holy Spirit that Jesus told him about years earlier.

Key Takeaways:

  • We are called to be born again

  • We received salvation and eternal life through Jesus

  • Everyone Needs Jesus

Parents, 3treesKIDS will also be learning about Nicodemus, this Sunday, both in-person and online.

Be sure to check out their lesson at

To find service times and locations, visit


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