We are first introduced to the ruler of the Jews named Nicodemus in John 3, when he came to the Lord by night. Many have speculated as to why he came by night, and the Bible does not say. However, from later incidents it seems that Nicodemus may have secretly believed in Jesus. John 12:42 says, “Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue,” and perhaps Nicodemus was one of this number. In John 7:50-52 he made a veiled attempt to stand up for Jesus in the presence of the chief priests and Pharisees who were trying to seize and destroy Christ, “Nicodemus saith unto them, (he that came to Jesus by night, being one of them,) Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth? They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.”
It is interesting that the last time we read of Nicodemus is in his connection with Joseph of Arimathea, (described as “a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews,”) as they buried Christ (John 19:38-40). Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes according to the prophecy of Psalm 45:8 and the normal custom of the Jews to do the courtesy of putting spices in the sheets that were wrapped around the body of the deceased. John 19:39 describes the quantity of these spices about a hundred pounds, which would be around 70 lbs. according to our measures. The large quantity of spices is mentioned here because it was a mark of royal burials (2 Chronicles 16:14). When Jesus spoke to Nicodemus during that night meeting, He talked to him of entering the kingdom (John 3:3-5). Nicodemus was now honoring Jesus as a king.
What can we gain from this? At the time when the disciples such as Peter, James, John etc., who were numbered with the Lord during His life, fled, men like Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, who had been more secretive about their allegiance, stepped out into the light and gave honor to the light of the world who had died for them. There was no advantage regarding popularity or politics that Nicodemus would gain through a connection with Christ. Jesus was dead, but Nicodemus finally made the move to come out in the open and honor Christ.
Perhaps you act like a secret disciple at work or out in public. Maybe you are not as bold as you think you should be or as you see others are. It’s not too late to come out in the open and decide to courageously stand for Christ. Like Nicodemus, your secret allegiance does not have to stay secret forever. You can do better and decide to be more courageous in the future than you have been in the past.