Nicodemus, discover through this article who Nicodemus is, what his history is and his importance in Christianity, join us to learn more about this character from the Bible through an enjoyable and constructive reading.
Who was Nicodemus?
Nicodemus, is a person who is described in the New Testament, he is a Jew, who was a Pharisee who had a lot of money. They describe him as a teacher of Israel, who was also part of the Sanhedrin, as the Jewish supreme court was called.
Because Nicodemus is referred to as a Pharisee, we consider it important to define what a Pharisee is, those who belonged to the Jewish community that was rigorous about the Law of Moses, who disagreed with the message, were called or recognized as Pharisees. of Jesus, so they referred to the gospel accounts in a pejorative way, because they made a legalistic interpretation of the Scriptures.
Within the Jewish community, Nicodemus was a recognized and important character. Where does the importance of this biblical character lie? In that Nicodemus had the wonderful fortune of having a deep conversation with Jesus Christ, which provides us with beautiful messages, in every answer given by Jesus.
Nicodemus is referred to in the Gospel of John, he is recognized as a person who deeply knew the Law of God and recognized Jesus as the Messiah, but this was not always the case. For the above, Nicodemus is recognized, like Paul of Tarsus, as a Jewish sage, who knew the word of Jesus very well, becoming his disciple, which makes him be recognized as one of the people who supported the work. of Jesus. Nicodemus is so recognized in the Catholic Church that he is considered a Saint and venerated as such, he has a date in the Roman Martyrology, in which his day is celebrated every August 3.
Nicodemus in the Bible
When we search for the life, actions and works of Nicodemus in the Bible we will not find him referred to in the synoptic gospels, however, more than half of chapter number 3 of John is dedicated to Nicodemus, in which he tells in detail who Nicodemus was. and the conversation held with Jesus.
This development allows us to identify the location and message described by John, allowing us to recognize that Nicodemus is a transversal character throughout the gospel, this statement can be based on the fact that Nicodemus is not actually a leading character in the gospel, but is present throughout its development.
It is also referred to in John chapter 7. Hereafter we will comment in detail, in each of the passages where Nicodemus is named or referred to, we hope that at the end of reading this article, Nicodemus is part of the knowledge they have about the Bible.
Book of John Chapter 3
The first reference to Nicodemus in the Bible is made by John in chapter 3, in verse 1 he describes him as a man who belongs to the Pharisees and refers to him as one of the main ones among the community of Jews.
John continues to tell us that Nicodemus was intrigued by the miracles that Jesus performed and this concern is what makes Nicodemus appear on stage for the first time, since he decides to go out one night to meet Jesus to ask about his concern.
Despite being a Pharisee, Nicodemus approaches Jesus with respect and recognizing that he is among us as a teacher and that he comes in the name of God, accepting that no one can perform the miracles that Jesus does if God is not with him.
John in verse 3 lets us know Jesus’ response to Nicodemus’ concern and his claim to come in God’s name to be a teacher among men, which shows that Nicodemus had a conversation with Jesus. In this first answer offered by Jesus to Nicodemus, he indicates “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” This message is not commonly found in Johannine texts.
But Jesus’ answer, more than clarifying Nicodemus’ doubt, generates a new concern in this man, for this reason the conversation continues with a new question from Nicodemus to Jesus, who asked him: How can a man be born when he is old? Is it possible to be in your mother’s womb for the second time, and be born again?
Jesus is surprised at Nicodemus’s question, because he does not conceive that a “teacher” in Israel was unaware of being reborn in the spirit. But Jesus wisely keeps his attention before the concerns of Nicodemus and replies: Truly I say to you that he who is not born of water and of the Spirit cannot enter the kingdom of God, with this phrase he reaffirms what was previously said to Nicodemus about the need to be born again.
He goes on to indicate to him “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.” Furthermore, he warns her not to be amazed at what he is saying or it will be necessary to be born again.
In this wonderful conversation Jesus refers to the freedom to be born of the Spirit and points out to Nicodemus that “The wind blows where it wants and we can hear its sound, but we do not know where it comes from or where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.
The more Nicodemus listened to Jesus, the more interested he was in what he was saying, so Nicodemus asks him, how can this be done? are you saying? It is then that Jesus tells Nicodemus that we know what we are talking about and we testify to what we have seen, as if I have only said about earthly things and they still do not believe, how are they going to believe if he will speak about heavenly things.
It is when, through his conversation with Nicodemus, Jesus gives us the information that the Son of Man must be raised, so that all who believe in him do not perish and can obtain eternal life. As we can see, if Nicodemus had not had concerns and had not approached Jesus to talk with him, we would not have these beautiful teachings in our hands. The importance of Nicodemus in the gospel guides us to believe and walk in the way of the Lord, from our spirit.
Book of John Chapter 7
When Jesus is captured, a council of priests and Pharisees is held, which is described in the Gospel of John in chapter 7, in which they refer again to the performance of Nicodemus, which is reviewed and forms part of the life of Jesus. . Nicodemus in defense of Jesus urges his companions to investigate, before making a final judgment on the fate of Jesus.
As Nicodemus’s companions envied Jesus and when Nicodemus tried to dissuade them from making a fair trial, they asked Nicodemus if he was also a Galilean and told him to go and investigate if prophets came out of Galilee. Next we will comment on the Gospel of John chapter 7 in the passages where it refers to Nicodemus, it is said that at the time of burying Jesus, Nicodemus brought one hundred pounds of myrrh and aloes, which would be used for the embalming of the body, such What was the Jewish custom?
On the Gospel and Nicodemus
We can recognize that Nicodemus is described as an orthodox Jew, but also through Nicodemus we can identify a person who is afraid of those Jews who did not think the same as him, he is also a character who through the gospel shows his generosity.
From the conversation with Jesus we can also identify that Nicodemus was a skeptic and needed to be explained and convinced to believe. Although in the Bible it is in the Gospel of John where reference is made to the performance of Nicodemus, there is an Egyptian Gnostic text, in which reference is made to the decision made by Pontius Pilate when he decides to crucify Jesus.
In this text, in addition to referring to Pontius Pilate, almost without responsibility for crucifying Jesus, they show that practically all the responsibility lay with the Jewish leaders, they refer to Nicodemus, who was the one who approached Pontius Pilate to request permission to take Jesus down from the Cross and take him to the tomb.
Where does it come from and how can we learn more about Nicodemus through the gospel, it is everyone’s recognition that Jesus had performed several miracles, it is very possible that some of them were performed near where Nicodemus lived, that is, that this man lived in Jerusalem.
The foundation is made by virtue of the fact that the Pharisees frequently discussed the actions, works and messages of Jesus, which is what causes Nicodemus to make the decision to approach Jesus to ask him about the concerns that remained unanswered.
From the conversation that Nicodemus had with Jesus, in each emitted response he refers to a teaching and the demonstration of the presence of the Holy Spirit, then to the work of the Son of Man and finally to God the Creator Father. It is important to note that they are interpretations, however, there is nothing conclusive.
We can also indicate that Nicodemus was initially at a midpoint between the Pharisees who strongly rejected the teachings, words and works of Jesus and those who were convinced of the faith, such as the disciples of Cana, Nicodemus at first had doubts and a insufficient faith.
Where Nicodemus’s doubts arise from and why they were due to the fact that Nicodemus only knew one way of being born, which was that of Adam and Eve, he did not know that one could be born of God, even more so that one could be born of the Church. He, too, did not know the fathers who generated life and eternal life, he only knew of the fathers who leave heirs.
His fear of being identified as someone who followed Jesus is perhaps the reason why Nicodemus approaches Jesus at night, which prevents him from seeing clearly and understanding the words that Jesus directed to put an end to his doubts. Jesus definitely achieved conversion in Nicodemus, who becomes a faithful defender and scholar of the word.
In treatise 120 Nicodemus is mentioned in a way that makes us think that after that first night in which he met Jesus, other encounters took place, since he himself is described at the time of Jesus’ burial that “Nicodemus also came, the one who at first had come to Jesus at night”, which allows us to infer that after that encounter others followed one another in broad daylight.
Another of the reviews that are made of Nicodemus is the one made by Saint Augustine, who assures that the remains of Nicodemus were found together with those of the martyr Saint Stephen, this is definitely an acknowledgment of veneration.
Reference is made to letters written by Nicodemus, which were sent to his friend Justo, they are reviewed in the book by Jan Dobraczyński in which the reflections and experience lived by Nicodemus are shown. Not only is this literary work of Nicodemus found, but it is also found in the work of Miguel de Unamuno, called “Nicodemus the Pharisee”. Without a doubt, the conversation between Nicodemus and Jesus is one of the best known and exposed by the evangelists, because there is a lot of information that this conversation delivers and is used to teach, guide and correct believers if necessary.
Learning from experience
The conversation between Nicodemus and Jesus teaches us that we must not only be witnesses of the miracles performed by our beloved Jesus Christ, it is necessary in order to achieve the promise of eternal life to accept through baptism the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, as the first step to build the way to the kingdom of God. We may possibly be originally like Nicodemus himself, skeptical, but may God also allow the miracle of conversion to take place in all the Nicodemus of the world.
Nicodemus witnessed the death of Jesus, just as Jesus told him in their first meeting: the Son of Man must be raised, so that everyone who believes may have eternal life in Him. We must recognize that Nicodemus ended up truly believing, even when initially he only had doubts, that is why it does not really matter if at first we feel doubts, the important thing is to accept Jesus in our hearts, as Nicodemus did, who ended up defending the Pharisees to Jesus. We recognize his generosity in the preparations for the burial, more than generosity we must recognize that Nicodemus lost his fear and reveals to everyone his dedication to the Lord.
In Nicodemus we can recognize that at first we can be afraid, feel doubts, but he also teaches us that after accepting him in his heart, he became strong and brave, this allows us to have greater hope, no matter how timid the beginning is, no It does not matter if he hides out of fear, that is why we must always look carefully in the corners of our church, perhaps there is a Nicodemus who is hiding and we must identify him, to help him build his way in Christ and let him know that it is the right decision, that you should not fear.
Another of the teachings that we must highlight in the experience of Nicodemus is that he was present with Jesus when many of his disciples abandoned him out of fear, which shows in him the greatness of the love that he came to develop for Jesus.
In this beautiful demonstration of strength, dedication and love we must strengthen ourselves and never doubt those who have weak beginnings in religion,
let us always remember Nicodemus, his growth, his development and how he became solid and strong in religion. . Let us remember that the wind blows where it wants and we hear the sound, but we do not know where it comes from and we do not know where it is going, so are all those who are born of the Spirit, the paths are deep and incomprehensible to us, but God has his purpose in each one of sinful men and works on them.