Did Nicodemus Follow Jesus? Answered!

By Charalampos •  Updated: 03/17/23 •  6 min read

Many people know about the twelve apostles, but Christ also had secret disciples.

In this article, we will learn about Nicodemus and find out if he truly followed Jesus.

Who is Nicodemus?

Nicodemus the Pharisee

According to the Gospel of John, Nicodemus was a Pharisee, a member of the Jewish ruling council, and a teacher of Israel.

He is first introduced in John 3, where he comes to Jesus at night to inquire about his teachings. This encounter between Nicodemus and Jesus is one of the most well-known stories in the New Testament.

The Conversation With Jesus

The Conversation With Jesus and Nicodemus

The conversation between Nicodemus and Jesus starts with Nicodemus acknowledging that Jesus is a teacher who has come from God, and Jesus responds by telling him that in order to see the kingdom of God, a man must be born again from God.

This phrase, “born again,” has become a key concept in Christian theology, and it is often associated with the idea of salvation and eternal life.

When people are baptized, it is believed that they are spiritually reborn. This time, not physically from Adam, but spiritually from Christ.

Nicodemus is initially confused by Jesus’ statement, asking how it’s possible for someone to be born again when they are already old. Jesus clarifies that he is not talking about a physical rebirth, but a spiritual one.

He tells Nicodemus that without being reborn a person can’t go to heaven (John 3:5). This passage is considered in Christianity as a reference to baptism, which is seen as a symbol of spiritual rebirth.

Throughout their conversation, Jesus shows the importance of faith in God’s plan for salvation. He tells Nicodemus that everyone who believes in Jesus will have eternal life (John 3:16). This faith in Jesus means not only believing that Jesus is God, but also living due to the teachings of Jesus.

The Future of Nicodemus

Despite the significance of their conversation, it isn’t much clear what became of Nicodemus after his conversation with Jesus.

Orthodoxy believes that he became a follower of Jesus and got baptized, he is also considered a saint in the Orthodox Church.

It is reported about him that he was baptized and later was expelled from Judea. After his death, he was buried next to saint Stephen.

Why Do We Think That He Followed Jesus?

Nicodemus followed Jesus

One proof in favor of the idea that Nicodemus followed Jesus is based on his actions later in the Gospel of John.

In John 7, the Pharisees send officers to arrest Jesus, but they return empty-handed (John 7:46). The Pharisees start mocking the officers, saying if any of the Pharisees believed in Jesus (John 7:47-48).

At this point, Nicodemus speaks up and defends Jesus, asking if their law can judge Jesus without hearing His point of view and finding out about the whole case (John 7:51).

This shows that Nicodemus tried to defend Jesus and prevent unlawful judging. He definitely had sympathy for Jesus and his teachings, and he didn’t help other Pharisees judge him.

His Role in The Crucifixion

We can find one more proof showing that Nicodemus followed Jesus. It’s based on his role in the crucifixion.

In John 19, Nicodemus is one of the two men who takes Jesus’ body down from the cross and prepares it for burial. This is a significant act of compassion and respect, and it shows that Nicodemus was a student of Jesus. We can also find details in the Bible showing that he brought everything needed for the funeral in large quantities.

According to John, he brought a composition of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred liters to anoint the body of Jesus

There are a few indications in the Gospel of John that show he was a follower of Jesus.

He was clearly a brave man because by recognizing the teachings of Christ, he could lose everything he had, his career, influence and respect. As it was said earlier, Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a member of the council, which would have put him in a position of power and influence within the Jewish community. 

If he did become a follower of Jesus, it would have been a significant departure from the traditional beliefs and practices of his community.

In the dialogue with Christ, he directly admits that Christ is God, because otherwise, no one is capable of performing such miracles. He also doesn’t leave Christ after the Pharisees tried to catch Him.

It was important for the Jewish society at that time to gain independence from Rome, which the Messiah could give, but even when he saw that the Messiah didn’t come to earth for politics, he didn’t reject Christ and tried to protect him.

Jesus’ teachings offered a different kind of hope for the people, one that wasn’t focused on political power or military might, but on the power of love and compassion.

Nicodemus definitely realized it and accepted the new faith.

Read Also: Who Killed Jesus Christ?

Final Thoughts

It can be concluded that Nicodemus was clearly a secret student of Christ. He acknowledged that Christ is God during his conversation with Jesus, he also didn’t abandon Christ during the persecution and tried to protect him, and after the crucifixion, he participated in the funeral and helped organize it.

He did it in spite of society and his high position. Ultimately, the story of Nicodemus and Jesus reminds us that faith is not a static or fixed concept, but a dynamic and evolving one. We are all on a journey of spiritual discovery, and the teachings of Jesus offer us a path to follow as we seek to deepen our relationship with God.

He also serves as a good example of self-sacrifice. By defending Jesus and being his follower, he put his life and career at risk. He wasn’t proud, because, despite his power and high position, he participated in the funeral of Jesus, whom the Jews considered a criminal.

Each of us can recognize Christ, as he did, and change our attitude towards him, and change our faith, just as Nicodemus stopped waiting for the Messiah who would free Israel from Rome.


Charalampos is an Orthodox Christian who wants to help others learn about Christianity. His main goal is to help people understand the Bible and how to apply its teachings in their everyday lives. He also enjoys spending time with his family, playing sports, and hiking.

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