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Was Nicodemus a Pharisee? What did Jesus call the Pharisees?

Biography of Nicodemus

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Biblical places from Nicodemus’ times

  1. Jerusalem- The exact location of Jerusalem and its temple
  2. Kinneret- Is Kinneret located in Jerusalem? Is it the sea?
  3. Mount of Olives- How are Mount Olives described in the Bible?

Why did Nicodemus not follow Jesus?

The Evangelist John emphasizes the care the well-known Nicodemus, a Pharisee, showed towards the Lord. And Nicodemus, who had come to him earlier in the night. He came, bringing, as it were, a hundred liters of myrrh and aloes mixture. He showed involvement in anointing the Savior’s body before it was buried. Some historians claim that Nicodemus is a martyr in a tomb discovered at the beginning of the 5th century. Besides the earthly remains of the first archdeacon and martyr of the Church, Stephen were those of Nicodemus. He was buried on the property of Gamaliel, another great scholar of the Law. A prominent member of the Sanhedrin, who also became a follower of the Saviour Jesus Christ.


Nicodemus was a Pharisee who did not follow Jesus initially because he was caught between uncertainty of faith and fear of being kicked out of the Sanhedrin. Being an honest man, he is not content with what his enemies whisper or what his friends say about Jesus but goes himself so that he may learn the truth from his mouth. And he has not made that journey in vain. It was not in vain for him to spend that night in conversation with Jesus.


For great³ things and grand truths, his ears heard. The mystery of every soul’s happiness and salvation was revealed to him: the mystery of being born again, the mystery of the beautiful work of the Holy Spirit.

Was Nicodemus saved?

The Gospel passage tells us that Nicodemus came to the Lord. We don’t know if his thoughts about the Savior were as they should be or if he still had the probing questions typical of the Jews. He came at night, fearing doing this in the daytime. If he had been seen in the company of the Saviour, he would have lost his high dignity. The visit had a particular purpose, to turn Nicodemus’ heart toward the true God.

Nicodemus was saved because of his faith in Jesus Christ and in becoming His disciple.

Interpreting his nocturnal visit, Bede the Venerable tells us that Nicodemus came at night, not during the day, because he was not yet enlightened by heavenly grace. Jerusalemite tradition says that the Saviour went to Nicodemus’ house. He had a sumptuous residence near the Temple, for such a personage represented much in Jewish society then. He certainly paid close attention to the Saviour Christ. Otherwise, he would not have become involved, would not have wanted to ask Him questions, and would have understood things that others did not have access to. His faith in the Saviour’s teaching took concrete form in his approach to the moment of the burial of the deathless One.

Key Verse related to Jesus’ words about Pharisees

Jesus said to the crowds and his disciples: Nicomedus was a Pharisee, and the Law teachers are experts in the Law of Moses. So obey everything they teach you, but don’t do as they do. After all, they say one thing and do something else. They pile heavy burdens on people’s shoulders and won’t lift a finger to help. Everything they do is to show off in front of others. They even make a big show of wearing Scripture verses on their foreheads and arms and wear oversized tassels for everyone to see. and 

Matthew 23:1-6 (NIV)

nicodemus the pharisee

The Pharisees oppose Jesus, especially since he criticized them for their hypocrisy and formalism. In addition, the Pharisees saw that the popularity of the Saviour was growing, that his message was reaching all classes of society, and that their teaching was losing out to the power of Jesus’ word.


Jesus calls the scribes and Pharisees hypocrites because they are not actual people of God. Christ the Saviour points to a renewal of man’s being through Baptism. Which also meant a new creation of water and the Spirit. The older man was crucified with Him and was endowed with great mysteries, a new birth, and burial with Him in death through Baptism.


We are not surprised at the troubling of his soul, for what is born of the Spirit is Spirit. Blow where it will mean, in fact, the power and work of the Comforter. The Spirit is carried where he wills, and the work of the Spirit cannot be restrained by the laws of the flesh nor by the bounds of bodily power.