Nicodemus said unto them, (he that came to Jesus by night, being one of them,)
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Cyril of Alexandria
One of the rulers is Nicodemus, and he is numbered among those who had authority, yet not wholly unbelieving nor altogether vying with their folly, but already pricked, not indeed having his love to Christ yet free, yet to some degree feeling shame at the convictions of his conscience. For that he came to Him by night, and affirmed that he knew well that He was a teacher come from God and that no one could do such signs, except he had God with him, I think that all have learnt, the blessed Evangelist having clearly said it at the beginning. He therefore marvelling at Jesus along with the multitudes, is somewhat smitten at being styled along with them cursed. For consciousness is quick at persuading not to be quiet in things contrary to one. As therefore aggrieved hereat, he returns upon them equal insult, not yet openly, but putting forth against them his indignation in words which have their strength out of the Law, and not in unveiled openness. For whereas the Law (he says) tells judges on each question before them, And thou shalt enquire diligently with exactness and clearness, whether it be so; ye judged recklessly those who had not been yet called to trial, and before hearing ought of them, ye bring against them so hasty a sentence. It is YE therefore (he says) who are more truly cursed, despising the Law. For it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the Law to do them. For in that he is indignant at the Pharisees for condemning the people for only marvelling at Jesus, it is clear that he agrees with those who do believe. For being still sick of an harmful shame, and not yet mingling boldness with his zeal, he permits the faith that is in him to be not seen uncovered, but casting about it dissimulation like a darksome cloak, he as yet conceals that he is on Christ's side; yet is he sick with a grievous sickness.
For we ought to believe fearlessly, glorying rather than ashamed, practising a transparent openness, and refusing slave-befitting dissimulation, for therefore did the wise Paul declare that he that rightly divideth the word of truth ought to be a workman unashamed, and himself too shewing the virtue that shone forth in himself somewhere says, For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.
Keen therefore (for I will resume again what I was saying) is Nicodemus' speech: for why did himself alone speak and withstand the words of the Pharisees, albeit their bloody confederacy had many others in it? But it is clear to every one, that since he was numbered among those who marvelled at Christ) he is shewing that they are accursed in their turn who lay a curse upon those whom they least ought.