There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:…
I. NICODEMUS THE INQUIRER. He was a Pharisee, and therefore all manner of religious obstacles, formalism, etc., stood in his way. He was a ruler, and therefore all manner of social impediments beset him. But his conscience had been awakened. He came in the dark so as not to be noticed. He admits Christ's Divine teacher-ship. Men now hold miracles in light esteem, but this narrative shows us that they should make a sober man think. Our Lord's reply shows that Nicodemus' admission was not enough. It is a great thing to reverence Christ, but this will not save without a spiritual change. About this Nicodemus was as ignorant as a babel and as Jesus opened it and related matters he might well marvel. He had inquired, and now heard much more than he anticipated. He is a sample of most inquirers. Through chinks and crannies the heavenly light steals silently and gradually. As the light goes in, prejudices are overcome and notions surrendered, until it becomes day as it did with Nicodemus.
II. NICODEMUS THE CONFESSOR (chap. John 7.). The impression made on the public mind by Christ's teaching and miracles was great (John 7:27). The rulers, filled with wrath, sent officers to arrest Him. These officers were so struck with what they heard that they returned without their prisoner. The Pharisees rebuked them, and heaped insults on all who acknowledged Him. Then Nicodemus arose in His defence, standing on Exodus 23, and Deuteronomy 1:16. It requires some courage to defend one whom rulers have condemned. Nicodemus did this, and bore the reproach of discipleship. He who was once timid now dares to stand up for Christ alone. The explanation is that in the meantime he had been born again,
III. NICODEMUS FAITHFUL IN HIS MASTER'S HUMILIATION (chap. John 19.). Jesus has been tried, condemned, and executed. All His disciples had fled, but Nicodemus stands firm, and with Joseph of Arimathea secures for our Lord an honourable burial Lessons —
1. If God begins a work in the soul, He will carry on that work to completion.
2. Ministers must not be discouraged at unpromising beginnings.
3. A man may be at first, but he cannot continue, a secret disciple.
(C. D. Marston, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: