I Am Nicodemus

The image above is a priceless, unfinished Michelangelo that I got the incredible opportunity to see in person at the Museum of the Opera of the Duomo. In marble, Michelangelo depicts Mary, Mary Magdalene, and Nicodemus taking Jesus off the cross. This was one of the most touching pieces of art I’ve come across so far in Florence, for reasons not noticeable to a non-art historian; luckily this piece was shown to me by an art historian.

The figure that touched me is Nicodemus, the Pharisee that asked Jesus, “Teacher, what must I do to have eternal life?” Jesus, of course answered that He must be born again. The average Pharisee was too busy trying to discredit Jesus to try to consider such questions. To be honest, they thought they already had the answer. Nicodemus recognized that he didn’t. The Bible doesn’t tell us how Nicodemus ultimately responded in chapter 3, but we do know that he helped to bury Jesus if that is any indication.

Now, get ready to have your minds blown. Michelangelo depicted his own portrait in the face of Nicodemus. Do you see the power in that statement? Michelangelo is saying, ‘I am Nicodemus.’ ‘I am the man that lays down my pride to sit at Jesus’ feet.’ ‘I am the man who needs to be born again.’

We crave answers and we need salvation, but the answers lay exclusively at Jesus’ feet. When we admit our need for Him, we effectively say “I am Nicodemus.” May we all be a Nicodemus until we reach the pearly-gates.

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