Nicodemus was a highly educated man in matters of the Law and the Prophets. He was a scholar of the Old Testament. He was also a member of the Jewish Ruling Council – the Sanhedrin. Tannaitic sources describe it as consisting of 71 sages. It was so powerful a body that any scholar who went against its decision was put to death. It was the final authority in matters of Jewish Law. However, by the time Jesus was crucified, the Sanhedrin had lost its authority to exact capital punishment.
Tannaitic sources help us reconstruct the image of Nicodemus. We can somehow draw his curriculum vitae. It was a glamorous, glorious and glowing CV.
In the Gospel of John 3:1-21, we encounter this highly placed Jewish scholar dialoguing with Jesus.
Despite his badges, Nicodemus was yet to decode the workings of God. He understood carnally, and this limited his spiritual horizon. He interpreted stuff carnally. He practised his faith carnally. He had a relationship with Yahweh but no fellowship. He needed a fellowship with Yahweh to help him apprehend supernatural stuff. A meeting with Jesus would do.
He began to understand things the moment he entered into fellowship with Jesus.
Nicodemus did not hold onto his past propensities and predispositions. He came with an open heart: To learn.
What do we learn from Nicodemus story?
Relationship with God will not unlock His treasures of wisdom and knowledge but Fellowship will do.
We have an identity with God. We are related to Him. We bore His image. We carry out his teachings religiously. That is a relationship with God. But it is not enough. What we need is a fellowship with Him. Hebrews 6:4-6 is proof that being religious amount to nothing. Professing is not equal to possession.
Advancement in secular knowledge is not equal to advancement in spiritual knowledge.
Nicodemus was a man of acclaimed scholarship. But this did not translate into spiritual knowledge and wisdom. It is good to increase our secular knowledge but it is better to increase our spiritual knowledge.
Time should not be a barrier to our fellowship with Master Jesus.
Nicodemus came to Jesus at night. He refused to be limited by time. Jesus accepted Him at that time. He did not criticize him for coming at night, but instead taught him the wisdom of God. We have the privilege of coming to Jesus at any time; Morning, Noon, Evening.
The crowd should not be a stoppage between Jesus and us.
Nicodemus feared to come to Jesus at daytime lest he reaps derision, disdain, and derogation. Most of the time we don’t make it to Jesus, we don’t have fellowship with Him due to our cold feet. We fear what our friends, relatives, and acquaintances will say. Do you know that people will always talk about you whether you go with them or you go alone! Why should you fear their disparagement? The crowd will stop you from receiving Jesus’ revelation.
Come to Jesus acknowledging His Lordship
Nicodemus came to Jesus and the first statement was an acknowledgement of who Jesus was. He rendered his honour, reverence, and worship to Him as he sat down to listen. Do you want to understand God’s ways clearer and better? Then follow Nicodemus example: Start with worship. It does not cost anything to sit at the feet of Jesus.
Learning is a continuous process.
Learning is like a treadmill: In reality, it never ends. We can purpose to continue knowing Him. Every day is an opportunity to learn something.
Do not lock your mind in the dingy dungeon of ignorance.