Nicodemus Seeks Jesus At Night (Sunday School Lesson)

This Bible lesson for children is based on John 3:1-21, the story of Nicodemus coming to talk to Jesus during the night. It could be used in children’s church or expanded for a kids Sunday School lesson. Please leave any suggestions at the bottom of this page.

Curriculum text: John 3:1-21

Time: 35 minutes

Learning Objectives:  After this lesson…

  • Children express their knowledge of the key people and events in this passage by retelling the story to each other.
  • Children express their understanding by identifying the point of the lesson.
  • Children express their understanding about Jesus’ description on salvation.

Target Age:  3rd-5th grade, older elementary

Material Needed:

  • PRINT PRINT this lesson plan
  • Bible:  John 3:1-21
  • Prepare beforehand a copy with the important points highlighted to endure specific explanation on them.
  • Visual Aids:  Pictures of Jesus, Nicodemus, Moses (holding serpent), electric fan, and book
  • You can print our free Nicodemus coloring page maze as an extra learning activity.

Teaching Plan:

Begin the lesson with a brief description of the key people in the story and showing pictures of Jesus, Nicodemus, and Moses and explain their roles in this story.  Explain to the students that Jesus uses Moses as an illustration to make a point with Nicodemus.  Make sure the students repeat the names.

Prior to reading the passage, divide the students into two groups and ask one half to identify the similarities and differences of physical birth and spiritual birth.  Ask the other half of the students to identify the ways that Jesus foretold His death and the reason for it.

Read (and Recap) John 3:1-21.  Read using different voices or ask for two volunteers and assign one to read the words of Jesus and the other to read Nicodemus while you narrate the remaining part.  Strive to involve the students in the story by occasionally stopping and asking questions.

Reinforce the lesson with questions at the end of the story.  Was Nicodemus a man of importance, if so, what? Yes, he was a Pharisee and ruler of the Jews. Did Jesus get upset with Nicodemus for coming to see Him at night? No. What is the reason you think Nicodemus came at night?  Scared others would see his interest in Jesus or worked all day, could be some possible reasons. Being a well-educated man, did Nicodemus understand what Jesus was saying about being born again at first?  No.  How does Jesus say one can get eternal life? Believe in Jesus.  What does Jesus say is the reason He came? Save the World.

When you’re finished reading the story, use the pictures to review the important people and events in the story.  Seek a response by the students about their listening assignment.  What did they learn about spiritual birth as compared to physical birth?  What did Jesus teach about His upcoming death?

Select a volunteer to help you demonstrate how you cannot see the wind but can see the effects of it.  Use the fan and a book to show how the pages move.  Reiterate the fact that when the Spirit of God moves in someone’s life, you can only see the effects of that move.  Ask the students what effects they might see in a person’s life when the Spirit has moved.

Lesson Evaluation:

Ask for three volunteers to retell the story and assign the role of Jesus, Nicodemus, and the narrator.  Remember to prompt the children with “What happened next?’

Ask for a student to explain what it means to be “born again”.

Give possible lessons from the story and ask the students to stand up it that lesson existed in the story. Answers in italics

  • Jesus died for our sins.  Yes
  • Jesus judges the world.  No
  • Jesus can walk on water.  True, but not part of this story.
  • God demonstrates His love for the world.  Yes
  • God can do all things.  True, but not part of this story

Need more help? Find the right Bible crafts or try this other lesson (PDF) about Jesus and Nicodemus.


  1. Regina says

    I will use this pattern to teach Jesus and Nicodemus story. I like the idea of asking my kids the differences between physical and spiritual birth. I think it will be interesting for the kids. Thank you for this wonderful resource.

  2. Alexus says

    I used this lesson with my care group and the kids were ranging from ages 3 to 14 and they took a lot away from it but the fan exercise was somewhat confusing.
    Thanks for the lesson though! Be Blessed

  3. Shannon says

    I think that with the times being like they are. There is nothing more important to teach our children than the understanding of salvation. I thought the groups activities could actually be done silently while the story is being read. This way they have to actually listen and keep up to try to find similarities and differences as well as identifying ways that Jeses foretold His death. I did an activity similar to this while watching a movie with my third grade classroom. They not only payed attention, but they learned the concept I was teaching and loved it. Thanks for the ideas!!! God Bless!

  4. Kemi says

    I’ll definitely love to use this lesson in our children’s church. However, the group task will be done after the reading to give the children an understanding of what to discuss in their group.
    Thanks for the lesson.
    God bless you.

  5. olga says

    Hi! I feel the group task preceeding the reading of the text i. e identifying the difference between physical and spiriual births too difficult. Or your kids must have exceptional theological understanding for their age. Then why teach them simply a story, and characters and main points afterwards? I would rather recommend to TEACH them about the distinction in the course of teaching the story. And illustrate it – so that they would be able to relate to this strange situation: a leader, a scholarly pharisee acknowledges Jesus, “thew son of the carpenter” as someone from God and they end up in the key condition of being able to enter the kingdom of God i.e. being born again. The other task – the moments of Jesus’ foretelling his death is the same, it requires a much deeper understanding than you can and do expect when teaching this story. with sisterly love, o.

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