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The story of Nicodemus captured my imagination and my heart while I was reading the Gospel of John two years ago. Jesus spoke John 3:16, the famous "For God so loved the world" verse, to just one man in a secretive night-time encounter. This same man, Nicodemus, appears again in John 7 when the Pharisees (religious leaders) sent guards to arrest Jesus in the Temple. John writes that Nicodemus tried to use his knowledge of the Jewish law to help Jesus:

Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus earlier and who was one of their own number, asked [the Pharisees], "Does our law condemn anyone without first hearing him to find out what he is doing?"
[The Pharisees] replied, "Are you from Galilee, too? Look into it, and you will find that a prophet does not come out of Galilee." (John 7: 50-52 NIV).
The next and last recorded event in Nicodemus's life is that he and Joseph of Arimathea buried Jesus's body.

These verses gave me tiny windows into the life of a respected Jewish leader who began as a skeptic of Jesus but became one of the few people who did not desert Jesus after his death on the cross. I wondered what Nicodemus's life was like before and between these events, and I was struck by the devastation he must have felt after the Crucifixion.

I have written his story to solve the puzzle I see in his three recorded interactions with Jesus. Nicodemus struggles to reconcile love with the Law and to sustain hope in the face of death and suffering.