he Holy Spirit has been speaking to us about faith in our recent studies - about believing in Jesus. In John 2, the Holy Spirit told us about John and Andrew following and talking with Jesus, and how, as a result, they believed that Jesus was the Messiah. Not only did they believe, but Peter, Philip, and Nathanel believed too! The first four believed because of what they heard, but Nathanel believed because of a sign. Jesus performed a sign at the wedding in Cana, and as a result, these five disciples believed in Him. He could do miracles! At the close of our last study, we also discovered that many people had seen the signs that Jesus did while He was in Jerusalem for the Passover. As a result, they believed in Him. But Jesus did not trust them because their faith was weak. They believed He could do miracles, but did they really believe? The Holy Spirit has been talking to us about faith, and this study is just one more step along the path.
He Came By Night. It appears that one of the Jewish leaders, a Jewish rabbi
named Nicodemus, had also been watching Jesus perform miracles and signs. We discover in the opening verse
of this study, that Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a ruler of the Jews.
Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; this man came
to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one
can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” (NASB) John 3:1-2
The phrase “ruler of the Jews” means that he was a member of the Sanhedrin Council. The Sanhedrin
Council was the top religious body of the Jewish nation. This means that Nicodemus was a powerful individual
among Jews and highly respected as a holy man. John 3:10 tells us that Nicodemus was also a teacher of Israel.
This may mean that he was considered to be the top teacher in Israel. Nicodemus was not your ordinary Jewish
man. He was not the ordinary Pharisee because he had come to a different conclusion than that of his fellow
rabbis. He believed that God was with Jesus, and he wanted to know more.
As a result, Nicodemus visited Jesus in order to discover more about Him. But apparently Nicodemus did not want to be seen by the other Pharisees and/or members of the Sanhedrin Council. Nicodemus was a busy man, but he could have taken time to visit Jesus during the day if he had wanted to. He did not do that. John 7:45-52 gives us a peek into the inner circle of the Pharisees and suggests why he came at night. In the passage we discover that the Pharisees were against Jesus and were applying pressure on the other members who might be starting to believe in Him.
They followed the pattern described in Romans 1:32,
. . . they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them. (NASB) Rom. 1:32