Nicodemus: Pharisee, Member of Sanhedrin


God specializes in finding and changing people we consider out of reach. It took a while for Nicodemus to come out of the dark, but God was patient with this “undercover” believer.

Afraid of being discovered, Nicodemus had an appointment to see Jesus at night. Daylight conversations between Pharisees and Jesus tended to be antagonistic, but Nicodemus really wanted to learn. He probably got a lot more than he expected – a challenge to a new life! We know very little about Nicodemus, but we know that he left that evening’s encounter a changed man. He came away with a whole new understanding of both God and himself.

Nicodemus next appears as part of the Jewish council. As the group discussed ways to eliminate Jesus, Nicodemus raised the question of justice. Although his objection was overruled, he had spoken up. He had begun to change.

Our last picture of Nicodemus shows him joining Joseph of Arimathea in asking for Jesus’ body in order to provide for its burial. Realizing what he was risking, Nicodemus was making a bold move. He was continuing to grow.

The ESV Study Bible, Large Print edition features the content of the award-winning ESV Study Bible with a highly readable, large-print type. Extensive study notes, charts, maps, and articles make this study Bible a valuable resource for serious readers, students, and teachers of God’s Word.

God looks for steady growth, not instant perfection. How well does your present level of spiritual growth match up with how long you have known Jesus?

Strengths and Weaknesses

  • One of the few religious leaders who believed in Jesus
  • A member of the powerful Jewish council
  • A Pharisee who was attracted by Jesus’ character and miracles
  • Joined with Joseph of Arimathea in burying Jesus

Weakness and Mistake

  • Limited by his fear of being publicly exposed as Jesus’ follower

Lessons from His Life

  • Unless we are born again, we can never be part of the kingdom of God
  • God is able to change those we might consider unreachable
  • God is patient but persistent
  • If we are available, God can use us

Vital Statistics for Nicodemus

  • Where: Jerusalem
  • Occupation: Religious leader
  • Contemporaries: Jesus, Annas, Caiaphas, Pilate, Joseph of Arimathea

Key Verse for Nicodemus

“ ‘How can a man be born when he is old?’ Nicodemus asked, ‘Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!’ “ (John 3:4)

Nicodemus’s story is told in the Gospel of John 3:1-21; 7:50-52; and 19:39-40

Scripture Study Resources

ESV Study BibleStudy Bibles give you a deeper understanding of God’s Word with tools for life application like commentary, maps, charts, concordance, and study notes. Search our popular translations- NIV, ESV, NKJV, KJV and more!

Believer’s Bible Commentary: Second Edition – A Bible commentary is a written, systematic series of explanations and interpretations of Scripture. Commentaries often analyze or expound on individual books of the Bible, chapter by chapter and verse by verse. Some commentary works provide analysis of the whole of Scripture.

The New Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible – The best concordance for word study! This exclusive new edition of a legendary classic puts generations of biblical research at your fingertips. A valuable tool for pastors, teachers, and students of the Bible. 

Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words – This classic word study resource allows you to study the meaning of biblical words in the original languages without spending years learning Greek or Hebrew. A great resource for students, seasoned pastors, and anyone who enjoys biblical word studies–even if they have little to no formal training in Hebrew or Greek.

Halley’s Bible Handbook – The beloved and classic Bible companion has been thoroughly updated, while retaining its time-honored features and Dr. Halley’s highly personal style, to offer even greater clarity, insight, and usefulness.

Click here to print or download the scripture character study “Nicodemus: Pharisee, Member of the Sanhedrin


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