Make Your Decision

Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night... — John 3:1-2a.

Nicodemus is an important person in John's story, so he will clearly identify which Nicodemus this is since his name was common. So he identifies his name, national affiliation, and rank in the religious structure.

What is most interesting is his religious rank. He is a Pharisee. This infers that he was probably a member of the Sanhedrin, the highest governing body of the Jewish people. This group was presided over by the High Priest, of which there were 70 members. But in this group, are two parties. Sadducees and Pharisees.

So what is a Sadducee and a Pharisee?

They are religious groups within the Jewish religion. Both groups honored the Mosaic Law and had a measure of political power. The differences between them are discovered through a few New Testament texts. For example:

  • Sadducees demanded a literal interpretation of Scripture. Pharisees gave oral tradition equal authority.
  • Sadducees rejected a resurrection of the dead. Pharisees believed in a resurrection.
  • Sadducees believed the soul perished at death. Pharisees believed in an afterlife and eternal reward and punishment.
  • Sadducees rejected the concept of an unseen spiritual realm. Pharisees taught the existence of angels and demons and a spiritual realm.

So on this Sanhedrin, you had a couple of religious-political parties that often disagreed. And Nicodemus was one of these guys. But we see here he is inquisitive, and I suggest genuinely interested in who Jesus is. And he wants some answers from the source.

Just so you know, there are two more occurrences of Nicodemus in the Gospel of John. First, in chapter seven, Nicodemus wants to hear a defense from Jesus on his authority. Second, in chapter nineteen, Nicodemus brought 75 pounds of spices for Jesus's burial after his crucifixion.

So what we have in Nicodemus is a high-ranking religious leader attempting to make his own decision about Jesus and his divine authority. Nicodemus is slow, thoughtful, and inquisitive in his process. Over time we will see that he is trying to distance himself from religious pressure and biases so he can make an objective decision about who he believes Jesus is. And that's what we all have to do. Some people need little evidence. Others need a lot more. But we must search for it because only we can decide. So if you are curious, search for answers before you run out of time.

ASK THIS: Is there something you need to know to make your decision about Jesus?

DO THIS: Ask someone for the answer.

PRAY THIS: God, reveal to me more about Jesus.

PLAY THIS: In Christ Alone.

short | practical | biblical
Read through the Bible daily with Vince Miller.

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Hunter James

In Christ Alone, my hope it found..

Chris Caliguire

Great job, Vince! It’s nice to have that breakdown of structure for when I try to converse with people. Thank you for your teachings.

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