In our text last Sunday we saw a complete change of

attitude toward Jesus in the temple guards.  They were

filled with praises toward Jesus.  In our text today we hear

a Christian speak up for Jesus.


I.  Looking back to some things which happened

    on an earlier trip of Jesus to Jerusalem


    In order that we might better understand what is really

taking place in our text, let us look back to some things

which had already taken place.  Let us look back first to

John chapter two when Jesus make His first visit to the

temple after He started His ministry.  There were many

visits to the temple in His boyhood, but this was the first

official visit there after His ministry began.

    When Jesus walked through the main entrance into the

temple courtyard, all pandemonium broke loose.  Jesus

started overturning money tables.  It was required that each

man may a tax to the temple for temple upkeep and that this

tax be paid with a Hebrew coin.  Many of the people who came

to Jerusalem on these special annual feasts came from

foreign countries because that is where they were living.

Therefore, when they arrived, they would take foreign coins

and buy Hebrew coins to pay the temple tax.  Jewish leaders

made a handsome profit selling the coins.  They also made a

profit selling sacrificial animals.

    When Jesus came into the courtyard He started

overturning money tables and driving out the people who sold

the coins.  He also drove out the animals and those who sold

them.  He really upset the apple cart of the Jewish leaders.

    To say the least, He did not make friends with the

Jewish leaders.  They became instant enemies.  They also

became permanent enemies.

    There was, however, one notable exception.  There was

one member of the Sandrin Council who did not become His

enemy.  That man was Nicodemus.  In John chapter three

Nicodemus came to Jesus by night and made inquiry of Him

concerning the will of God.  He learned that he had to be

born again in order to enter heaven.  He learned also that

he could be born again by trusting in Jesus Christ as his

Savior.  Just as the people of Israel in the wilderness who

were bitten by a serpent could look to a serpent of brass on

a pole and live, even so people who are lost in sin can look

to Jesus Christ and be saved.

    Nicodemus did that.  He looked to Jesus by faith and was

saved.  He was born again.

    Yet Nicodemus did not make it known publicly that he had

trusted in Jesus.  He did not present himself as a candidate

for baptism.  He became a disciple of Jesus, but the

Scripture speaks of him as a secret disciple.  Apparently

Nicodemus did not make his faith in Jesus public because he

knew that it would mean a great deal of persecution for

himself and for his family if he did.  He was afraid to let

it be known that he believed in Jesus.


II.  Looking back to events which happened earlier at this

     Feast of The Tabernacles


    Can you imagine what kind of position this put Nicodemus

in as the time came for this particular Feast of The

Tabernacles?  Nicodemus must have been present when the

Sanhedrin Council met prior to the feast and ordered the

arrest of Jesus.  What was even worse is that the council

made it clear that intended to put Him to death.  That is,

they would come up with some kind of trumped up charge that

would bring the death penalty upon Him.  Nicodemus must have

been sitting right there in that meeting when the temple

guards were called in and given their instructions to very

quietly arrest Jesus out away from the crowds so as not to

stir up trouble.  Nicodemus listened but he never voiced a

word of objection.

    Then in the middle of the week, when the council decided

that Jesus must be arrested even if it meant arresting Him

in the middle of a crowd Nicodemus was there.  The temple

guards were again called in and given their new orders,

"Arrest Him at all costs.  Arrest Him even it means

arresting Him in a crowd of people."  It must have been a

miserable experience for Nicodemus to just sit there and not

speak one word of objection.  He had been afraid.  He was

afraid for Jesus but he was even more afraid for himself and

for his family.  He just sat there and listened and never

said a word.


III.  Looking at the events which took place in this council



    Now the feast is over and the council has met to try to

decide what went wrong and what would be their next step and

Nicodemus must have been greatly disturbed.  He sat there

and silently listened as the chief priests and other council

members raked the temple guards over the coals for not

arresting Jesus.  He listened as the guards bravely spoke up

and praised Jesus very highly even though they knew that

what they were saying was highly displeasing to their


    He listened silently as he heard the Jewish leaders say

to those guards, "Have you also been deceived?"  He listened

silently as one of the council members ask the guards a very

pointed question.  V. 48, "Have any of the rulers or of the

Pharisees believed on him?"  Boy, that question must have

pierced his heart!  He was a ruler of the Pharisees.  He was

a member of the Sanhedrin Council and he had believed on

Jesus.  The problem was that they did not know that he had

believed on Jesus and he really did not want them to know.

    But the council members were implying that not one

member of the council believed in Jesus and he knew that

this was not so.  In all probability, he also knew that

Joseph of Aramathea, who was a member of the council, had

also believed in Jesus.  It simply was not true to the facts

to tell these guards that none of the council members

believed on Jesus.  It was eating Nicodemus up on the

inside, but still he was silent.

    Nicodemus listened as his fellow council members branded

all those who did believe in Jesus as being ignorant.  V.

49, "But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed."

Whoever was talking thought of the common people as being

ignorant.  He thought of them as being cursed because they

believed in Jesus.  He thought they were just deceived by

Jesus.  Oh, he just did not know how wrong he was!  He did

not know that he and those like him were the ones who were

ignorant.  He did not know that he and the ones like him

were deceived.  They were the ones who were cursed.  They

were headed for the everlasting fires of hell when it was

not necessary for them to go there.  They could trust in

Jesus and be saved.  But they were the ones who were


    Nicodemus had sat there in silence until suddenly he

could take it no longer.  All of a sudden he heard his own

voice ring out loud and clear.  I am sure that he could

hardly believe what he was hearing.  He could hardly believe

that he was speaking up in defense of Jesus.


IV.  The stand which Nicodemus took for Jesus


    Now listen, Nicodemus still had a long way to go in

learning to speaking out for Christ.  He did not say, "Hey,

you fellows are wrong.  There is at least one ruler of the

Pharisees who believes in Jesus --- me!  Hey, listen

everybody.  I believe in Jesus.  Did you hear what I said?

I said I believe in Jesus."  No he did not say that.

    But just listen to what he did say.  V. 50-51,

"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?"

    Listen, not only could Nicodemus hardly believe his

ears.  He had spoken up and spoken out in defense of Jesus.

But those council members could also hardly believe their

ears.  They could hardly believe that one of their own

members would object to the arrest and execution of Jesus.

They had just assumed that no respectable Jewish leader

would favor Jesus.  But here was a man who did speak up and

he spoke the cold hard facts.  He pointed out that they had

condemned Jesus without ever giving Him a trial.  They had

condemned Him without knowing one thing He had done wrong.

It was also true that the law of Moses, the very law which

they claimed to uphold -- forbid this kind of unfair


    Here was a fellow member of the council, who was not

ignorant of the law and he was using the law against them.

He was using the law to take up for Jesus.  They could

hardly believe it.

    There was one thing they did not want.  They did not

want a division among themselves on this matter.  They

wanted, if possible, to maintain a unanimous voice in

opposition to Jesus.  It must have been very disappointing

to them to hear one of their own speak out in favor of


    They were desperate to try and convince him and any

other member who might be wavering that Jesus is not the

Christ.  V. 52, "They answered and said unto him, Art thou

also of Galilee?..." They looked upon all Galileans as being

of bad character.  They knew that Nicodemus was not from

Galilee.  They were just trying to browbeat him into

submission by ridiculing him.  Isn't it strange that when

people have no real argument that they resort to ridicule.

If they cannot prove their case, they just ridicule anyone

who does not agree with them.

    Finally, they resort to outright lying.  (V. 52),

"Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet."

This was an outright lie and they knew it.  The prophet

Jonah was from a village which was located about three miles

from Nazareth of Galilee and they knew it.  They just

deliberately lied.  They were desperate to prove their

point.  Furthermore, Elijah was from Galilee.  These men

were just telling a plain bald-faced lie and they knew it.

    John closed out this record with one short simple

statement.  V. 53, "And every man went unto his own house."

That is, the council broke up at this time and the council

members went home.  They were getting nowhere.  They were

making no progress persuading the guards that Jesus was

evil.  Now one of their own was speaking out in favor of

Jesus, using their own law against them.  They surely did

not want to take a chance on somebody else speaking up and

joining with Nicodemus.  So they just dismissed and went



V.  The need for someone to speak up for Jesus today


    Listen, this was not an easy thing for Nicodemus to do.

It was not easy for him to speak and say what he did, but by

the grace of God he spoke up.  He was afraid for himself and

afraid for his family, but he spoke up anyway.

    I think that we ought to be able to identify with that.

I remember when I was a teenage boy of sixteen and I trusted

Jesus Christ as my Savior.  I was saved on a Sunday night

after the services were dismissed.  I knew that the Lord

wanted me to profess the Lord Jesus Christ publicly as my

Savior.  All week long, I thought about next Sunday morning.

I thought about how hard it would be for me to get up during

the invitation hymn and walk down that aisle.  By the time

Sunday came and the invitation came I was just about scared

to death.  But I got up and went down the aisle anyway.

Some of you know what I am talking about.  Don't you?

    Listen, God needs somebody in our day and time who will

speak out for Jesus.  There are all too many who are

speaking out against Him.  What Jesus needs is somebody who

will speak out for Him.

    We will soon be having what we call a "Youth Led Revival

Meeting."  God needs some young people who will speak out

for Jesus.  There are all too many young people who are

speaking out for drugs, speaking out for adultery, speaking

out for gangs and crime and all manner of sinfulness.  But

what Jesus needs is some young person who will speak out for

Him.  Out of all the men who made up the Sanhedrin Council,

there was not but one man who spoke out for Jesus, but thank

God for that one man.  And God used that man.  By speaking

up when he did, Nicodemus broke up that meeting so that no

further action was taken against Jesus in that meeting.  God

can use a few Christian young people who will really give

their lives to Jesus and who will speak out for Him.  Will

you be one of those young people?

    God needs parents and grandparents who will give their

lives to Jesus and who will speak out for Jesus.  Will you

be one of those parents?  Or will you be one of those

grandparents who will speak out for Jesus.  God knows, there

are all too many parents today who are not even trying to

bring up their children right.  God needs some parents who

will take a stand for Jesus and will bring up their children

in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.  Will you be one

of those parents.

    God needs Christians who will speak out for Jesus on the

job.  There are all too many men and women alike who use the

name of Jesus only in profanity.  They curse and speak all

manner of filthiness.  But Jesus needs somebody on the job

who will not only live right, but who will take a stand for

Him and speak out for Him on the job.  Will you be one of

those workers who will let your light shine for Jesus and

speak out for Him?

    God needs church members who will speak out for Jesus by

speaking up for his church.  Listen, Jesus loves this church

and gave Himself for it.  There are all too many who are

willing to speak out against it and run the church down.

There are all too many who speak out against the church,

against the pastor, against the deacons, against the

teachers and against any other member they can think of, but

the Lord wants somebody who will speak up for it.  He needs

somebody who will speak up for the pastor and speak up for

the deacons and speak up for the teachers and speak up for

the other members.  Will you be one of those who will speak

up for your church.

    Listen, I know it is not going to be easy.  It wasn't

easy for Nicodemus.  It is never easy.  But the Lord gives

grace to those who are ready to do the Lord's will.  Will

you be one of those who will stand up and stand out and

speak up for Jesus in this crazy world that we live in?  If

you will, Jesus will take you and use you for His honor and





    Young people, will you be one who will speak up for

Jesus?  Mother, dad, grand-mother, grand-dad, will you be

one who will speak up for Jesus?  Christian worker on the

job, will you be one who will speak up for Jesus?  Church

member, will you be one who will speak up for Jesus by

speaking up for your church?

    Unsaved friend, you might have thought I would not

expect you to speak up for Jesus.  What I am going to ask

you to do is to come and place your faith in my Jesus and

let Him save your soul.  If you will let Jesus save you and

keep you out of hell and take you to heaven, then I believe

that even you will want to speak up for Jesus.