nicodemus ben gurion

I have learned a great lesson of influence from the life of Jesus.  Jesus was connected to three groups of people.

The twelve; his close friends who he revealed that he was God’s son who came to provide a path to God by forgiving our sins through sacrifice.

The poor; he was always engaged with the poor.

The leaders; the leaders were always around Jesus.

The lesson I have learned:  Share your life with a close group of friends, never miss an opportunity to help the poor and seek relationships with leaders.

Leaders:  They did not like him. He was their rival.  But, they were attracted to him.  Always challenging him. Always asking questions and in one recorded case a leader came to ask his advice.  Nicodemus came to Jesus in the night because he did not want to be seen or connected to Jesus.  Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin.  He was supposed to be a hater of Jesus.  Scripture reflects a much different view of Nicodemus.  I believe we will see Nicodemus again along side of Jesus as one who trusted Jesus as his personal savior.

My focus today is on the relationship he had with one leader:

Nicodemus ben Gurion

From Wikipedia


Saint Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin, who according to the Gospel of John, showed favor to Jesus. He appears three times in John. Nicodemus visits Jesus one night to discuss his teachings with him.(John 3:1–21); The second time Nicodemus is mentioned, is when he states the law concerning the arrest of Jesus during the Feast of Unleavened Bread (John 7:45–51). The last time Nicodemus appears in the Bible is Crucifixion, when he assists Joseph of Arimathaea in preparing the corpse of Jesus for burial.(John 19:39–42)

Nicodemus ben Gurion was a wealthy Jew who lived in Jerusalem in the 1st century CE. He is widely believed to be identical to the Nicodemus mentioned in the Gospel of John.

His real name was apparently “Bunai”, but he acquired the nickname “Nicodemus”, meaning “conqueror of the people” because of a miraculous answer to a prayer he made.

Nicodemus appears to have been a wealthy and respected figure, known for his holiness and generosity. He was an opponent of the Zealots and of the rebellion against Rome, which led to the destruction of Jerusalem.

When Vespasian became emperor, Nicodemus sought peace with the emperor’s son Titus, who was conducting the war. He agitated against the prosecution of the war by the Zealots. In retaliation they destroyed the stores of provisions that he and his friends had accumulated for the use of pilgrims.

We all know the part of John where Nicodemus comes to Jesus in the night.  I just realized that John 3:16 was part of the explanation Jesus gave to Nicodemus about Heaven.  I have known this verse all my life and never knew it was said to Nicodemus.

God continues to pierce my heart with scripture.


Jesus and a religious leader

3:1-2 – One night Nicodemus, a leading Jew and a Pharisee, came to see Jesus. “Master,” he began, “we realize that you are a teacher who has come from God. Obviously no one could show the signs that you show unless God were with him.”

3:3 – “Believe me,” returned Jesus, “a man cannot even see the kingdom of God without being born again.”

3:4 – “And how can a man who’s getting old possibly be born?” replied Nicodemus. “How can he go back into his mother’s womb and be born a second time?”

3:5-8 – “I assure you,” said Jesus, “that unless a man is born from water and from spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God. Flesh gives birth to flesh and spirit gives birth to spirit: you must not be surprised that I told you that all of you must be born again. The wind blows where it likes, you can hear the sound of it but you have no idea where it comes from and where it goes. Nor can you tell how a man is born by the wind of the Spirit.”

3:9 – “How on earth can things like this happen?” replied Nicodemus.

3:10-21 – “So you are a teacher of Israel,” said Jesus, “and you do not recognize such things? I assure you that we are talking about something we really know and we are witnessing to something we have actually observed; yet men like you will not accept our evidence. Yet if I have spoken to you about things which happen on this earth and you will not believe me, what chance is there that you will believe me if I tell you about what happens in Heaven? No one has ever been up to Heaven except the Son of Man who came down from Heaven. The Son of Man must be lifted above the heads of men – as Moses lifted up that serpent in the desert – so that any man who believes in him may have eternal life. For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that every one who believes in him shall not be lost, but should have eternal life. You must understand that God has not sent his Son into the world to pass sentence upon it, but to save it – through him. Any man who believes in him is not judged at all. It is the one who will not believe who stands already condemned, because he will not believe in the character of God’s only Son. This is the judgment – that light has entered the world and men have preferred darkness to light because their deeds are evil. Anybody who does wrong hates the light and keeps away from it, for fear his deeds may be exposed. But anybody who is living by the truth will come to the light to make it plain that all he has done has been done through God.”