Text: John 3:1

The gospel of John tells us about a man named Nicodemus. He is not named in the other gospels, and is only mentioned on three occasions in John’s gospel. He is certainly not one of the primary characters in the Bible, but there are some important lessons we can learn from him. This lesson will consider six lessons from Nicodemus.

He Was a Pharisee and a Ruler (John 3:1)

  • Not exactly the type you might expect to follow Christ – Pharisees were regular opponents of Christ (Matthew 16:1,6,12; 22:15; 23:1-33); rulers wanted to put Jesus to death (John 11:47,53; Luke 24:20)
  • Reminder that disciples can potentially come from any group (Galatians 3:26-28; cf. Matthew 19:23-26)
  • Do not write someone off because they belong to a certain group – God judges people as individuals (Ezekiel 18:20) and so should we

He Knew Jesus Came from God (John 3:2)

  • At this point, he may not have understood that Jesus was the Son of God (cf. John 3:16) – but he knew He was from God; the miracles proved that (cf. Acts 2:22)
  • Many acknowledged the miracles and still rejected Jesus (John 11:47-48) – this shows that Nicodemus was honest; this is necessary for us to please God (Luke 8:15)
  • Follow the truth, not the crowd (John 17:14,17)

He Tended to Focus on Physical Things (John 3:4)

  • When Jesus told him about the new birth, he assumed this was a physical birth (John 3:3-5) – he was not the only Jew to place great emphasis on the physical (John 6:15; Acts 1:6)
  • We must focus on spiritual things first (Matthew 6:33; Colossians 3:2)
  • We have been richly blessed – should cause us to seek God (Acts 14:15-17), not turn from Him (Luke 8:14)

He Did Not Immediately Understand Jesus (John 3:9)

  • Nicodemus questioned Jesus because he did not immediately understand (John 3:9) – Jesus responded with a mild rebuke (John 3:10); he could have gotten defensive, but he did not
  • We do not have a perfect understanding of God’s will – we must continually seek to grow (2 Peter 3:18; Proverbs 9:9)
  • We need to have humility to recognize our need to grow (Proverbs 26:12) – humility leads to wisdom (Proverbs 11:2); do not be afraid to ask questions (Acts 8:30-31)

He Emphasized Justice (John 7:50-51)

  • The chief priests and Pharisees had already decided that Jesus was guilty (John 7:45-49) – Nicodemus stressed the importance of fairness and justice (John 7:50-51; cf. Exodus 23:1; Proverbs 18:13)
  • We should not rush to judgment against anyone (ex: news stories, our dealings with others, etc.) – find out the whole story before making judgments (Proverbs 18:17)
  • God expects His people to be just (Micah 6:8)

He Helped Bury the Body of Jesus (John 19:39-40)

  • Joseph of Arimathea received permission to bury Jesus’ body; Nicodemus helped him (John 19:38-40) – they took special care of His body; His burial did not match His death (Isaiah 53:9)
  • Nicodemus’ companions had Jesus crucified (John 11:47,53; Matthew 27:1) – yet while Jesus’ disciples fled in fear (Matthew 26:56), Nicodemus came to care for the body of Jesus
  • Do what is right, no matter what others do (Joshua 24:15) – even if you are in the minority (Revelation 3:4)

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