Friday, June 15, 2012

Why Do We Hate on Nicodemus So Much?

I had the opportunity to teach on John 3:1-10 the other during the Wednesday Bible Study. As I was studying and reflecting on what I knew about Nicodemus, I realized that very little good is ever said about Nicodemus.

Growing up, every time Nicodemus was taught about, it was always in relation to not being like him. I mean, the man went to see Jesus under the cover darkness. He was embarrassed to be seen with Jesus. Or was he?

Let's look at a few things about Nicodemus to see if we really want to be saying such negative things about him.

Nicodemus was a ruler of the Jews and a member of the Pharisees. He was a busy man and an important teacher. With that in mind, here are a few reasons that Nicodemus might have chosen to go at night.

  • Jesus and Nicodemus were important individuals. Every where they went, both men would have been surrounded by large crowds of people. There would have been little time to talk during the day. Waiting until night would have afforded both of them an opportunity to sit and talk without interruption.
  • Nicodemus was a member of the Sanhedrin and a Pharisee. It is possible that Nicodemus believed that being seen with Jesus would have been taken as a sign that the Sanhedrin approved of Jesus. At this point, there was no real way of telling which way to go with Jesus. Nicodemus may not have wanted to lead others astray had Jesus turned out to be something untoward.
  • Nicodemus was concerned about what others would think of him. This is the reason that most Bible teachers and youth pastors focus on. We look at the night fall and say that Nicodemus was ashamed of Christ. This may have been the case, but we aren't sure.

I think the most important thing for us to take away from this discussion is not when Nicodemus went to see Jesus, but that he went to see Jesus. There was obviously something about Jesus that made Nicodemus curious, something that he simply could not ignore. Nicodemus chose to go see Jesus. None of his friends went with him. And Nicodemus left a changed man, changed enough that he stood up for Jesus in front of those very friends he was worried about earlier. Changed enough to take care of Jesus' torn and bloodied body after the crucifixion. Nicodemus was changed.

So, let me ask again, why do we hate on Nicodemus so much?

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