Nicodemus’ faith did not appear in a moment of sudden illumination. Instead, it seems to have happened gradually.
The Bible tells us of only 3 episodes from Nicodemus’ life – all of the are recorded in the Gospel of John.
Nicodemus sat for a discussion with Jesus, hoping to hear more from the popular Rabbi/Teacher. They met at night, leading many to conclude that Nicodemus feared the consequences of being seen with the controversial Jesus. In Jesus’ encounter with Nicodemus, Jesus told the interested Pharisee that not one could experience God’s kingdom without being reborn. Nicodemus was unable to see the difference between “earthly things” and “heavenly things” (John 3:12); he received a mild rebuke from Jesus… accompanied by further explanation (which included the most quoted verse in the Bible – John 3:16).
John does not tell us whether Nicodemus walked away from that conversation with Jesus having believed in Jesus… but the other two episodes that mention Nicodemus are revealing.
As the conspiracy against Jesus grew, some of the religious leaders rebuked the temple guards for not arresting Jesus when they had the chance. In response, those same guards came to Jesus’ defense. To this, the Pharisees reported that – since no religious leader had put his faith in Jesus as the Christ – neither should the guards. Possibly in opposition of this claim, Nicodemus spoke up… challenging his colleagues for condemning Jesus without a hearing (John 7:45-51).
At the death of Jesus, Nicodemus helped Joseph of Arimathea take Jesus’ body from the cross and quickly bury it in an unused tomb (John 19:39-42).
Nicodemus’ spiritual journey can almost be seen taking one slow step after another… slow, but steady, growth. He gradually became bolder in revealing his devotion to – and possibly love for – Jesus as the Christ.
Can others see similar growth in your life?
What is one action you can take today to show you identify with Christ?
* A sure sign of growth is a faith of increasing boldness.
You can read the story of Nicodemus in John 3:1-21; 7:50,51; 19:39-42.