There was a man from the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to him at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God, for no one could perform these signs you do unless God were with him.”
The Pharisee’s Journey
Nicodemus came to Jesus at night. We might be quick to see this as an indication of cowardice. However, it was actually a brave thing for him to do. As a leading Pharisee in the region, he had far more to risk than most men in his day. But evidently his curiosity won out; he had to know more about this most unusual Rabbi. This is the beginning of the Pharisee’s journey from curiosity to courage.
As a devout student of the ancient Scriptures, Nicodemus realized that any man who could do what Jesus was doing surely had been sent by God. And as we learn in the following verses, Jesus responded to Nicodemus’ courage by revealing to him some of the most significant spiritual truths He ever spoke to anyone.
A Heart Transformation
We aren’t told directly what Nicodemus thought about what he had been told. But later John gives us two more clues as to how deeply the words of Jesus had impacted his heart.
In John 7:40-52, the Pharisees sent some officials to arrest Jesus. When they returned empty-handed, the Pharisees asked them, “Are you fooled too? Have any of the rulers or Pharisees believed in him?” Apparently Nicodemus had not yet been found out.
Empowered by The Gospel
But at this moment Nicodemus, who was with them, spoke up: “Our law doesn’t judge a man before it hears from him and knows what he’s doing, does it?” (John 7:51). The other Pharisees promptly pushed back. “Investigate and you will see that no prophet arises from Galilee,” they reply in the next verse. We can only speculate whether this exchange resulted in Nicodemus losing favor with the Jewish leaders—or perhaps even forfeiting his position among them.
What we do know is that, in the end, he was willing to reveal his loyalty to Jesus. In John 19:39, Nicodemus chose to openly honor the crucified Rabbi by helping Joseph of Arimathea with His burial, personally contributing a lavish amount of myrrh and aloes.
From Curiosity To Courage
Clearly Nicodemus had come to fully embrace the final words Jesus spoke to him that first night: “But anyone who lives by the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be shown to be accomplished by God” (John 3:21).
Idle curiosity, which everyone has, often falls away when there’s a price to be paid. But when our curiosity is born out of a deeper desire to know truth, God will be faithful not only to reveal that truth to us, but also to give us the courage to live out that truth, regardless of the cost.
Consider the truths about the Lord that you’re most curious about. How can you venture further in your pursuit of truth? Reflect, too, on how the gospel empowers you to brave in these pursuits. Thank Him for the work of the gospel in your own heart. Pray for opportunities to be bold in proclaiming God’s truth to those around you.