The change of Nicodemus might have value to those of you who feel discouraged concerning the path required to acquire knowledge of the Messiah.
Nicodemus was a member of the Sanhedrin. The Jewish government was operated by the Sanhedrin, which composed mostly of Pharisees, but also included Sadducees. The difference between Pharisee and Sadducee can be simplified to scholars (Pharisees) and noblemen claiming authority through blood-line (Sadducees). Both parties filled the seats of the government of the Jews, called the Sanhedrin. Nicodemus (a Pharisee) held rank as an officer among those officers.
Nicodemus was in darkness, as all are who are ignorant of the things of the heavens. He went to visit Jesus, recognizing Christ as a source of pure light. He followed his heart and sought wisdom from a man who was rejected by the Sanhedrin (Christ), because he had enough sense to recognize the source of the good Christ performed; he knew it was from heaven. The question Nicodemus asks, that sparks my interest, is about ascension. Christ’s first instruction to Nicodemus is not about ascension, but instead it’s the ordinance of baptism. His instruction for Nicodemus to join the new dispensation, now upon them, required the evidence of faith through baptism, otherwise you will not ascend in this life, or in the life to come, according to Christ.
Christ told Nicodemus that Christ’s coming was prophesied of for a long time now, and He is now here, but Nicodemus refuses to see it happening! Enough is underway that rejecting it means that you prefer darkness over light. Christ instructs Nicodemus to humble himself to see that the prophets words are currently underway. He suggests to Nicodemus to repent and be baptized so that the Spirit of Truth can open his eyes. Christ said, You must do this to obtain greater light. That advice applies to you too, my family.
Nicodemus seems to have a change of heart, as the Sanhedrin seek out to convict Christ to death, without giving Him a proper trial. Nicodemus speaks up for Christ, requesting a fair trial. The Sanhedrin act like all leaders would, who act NOT in faith, but instead in fear. They mock Christ and spread rumors that Christ is a dissenter and an apostate. They punish those among the Sanhedrin who were somewhat persuaded by Christ’s teachings. And they asked Nicodemus, “What, are you from Galilee too,” so as to say, Are you made from the same material as Christ, who must die?
Although the record does not show a bold demonstration of immediate support from Nicodemus towards Christ, looking towards the end of the record, you see the change of that man. After Christ was crucified and His body was taken down from the cross, two men carried it to the sepulcher. Those two men were Joseph of Arimathia, and… (wait for it…), yup, you guessed it Nicodemus!
Conclusion: Hearts can change if there is sufficient reason for it to do so. Years ago, when all hope was gone concerning the stability and longevity of my marriage, I turned to Christ and he has made my marriage eternal. Years ago I was told that God does not consider spanking children acceptable to him, and the spirit testified to me that this was true. However, I lacked the light to replace what I was doing with what I ought to be doing. Recently I have had a revelation concerning this very thing, and now have the missing light that can remove from me the desire to use compulsion and unrighteous dominion in my home. My heart has changed, and has changed again, and is in the process of changing again, making me precisely like my Lord and Savior.
The reasons for the change initially started from without, as my marriage hung by a thread. That was the worst way for it to happen, as I was compelled to change or loose my family. But, sometimes when we are compelled to be humble, we turn to Christ, and that I did. The second change, however, came from within. That took a lot of time, but it didn’t hurt as much as the first. You can choose either options, to be humbled from without, or to humble yourself from within.
In this day and age I would not recommend being humbled from without. That might require much pain and suffering, even the loss of life. If you choose to go the easy route, that will require recommitting to a serious study of the words of Christ, baptism, and being cast out of the LDS Church. That doesn’t sound easier, I know. But trust me, it is. Just as Christ told Nicodemus, the only way to self-identify as a part of this new dispensation is to partake in the ordinance of baptism once more. The Change of Nicodemus can reflect the change of your heart, to be associated with the elect of God. I trust that you have it in you!