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Nicodemus (Greek: Νικόδημος) was a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin, who, according to the Gospel of John, showed favour to Jesus. He appears three times in the Gospel: the first is when he visits Jesus one night to listen to his teachings (John 3:1-21); the second is when he states the law concerning the arrest of Jesus during the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7:45-51); and the last follows the Crucifixion, when he assists Joseph of Arimathea in preparing the corpse of Jesus for burial (John 19:39-42).

The discussion with Jesus is the source of several common expressions of contemporary Christianity, specifically, the descriptive phrase born again used to describe the experience of believing in Jesus as Saviour, and John 3:16, a commonly quoted verse used to describe God's plan of salvation.

An apocryphal work under his name — the Gospel of Nicodemus — was produced at some point in the medieval era, and is mostly a reworking of the earlier Acts of Pilate, which recounts the harrowing of Hell.

Though there is no clear source of information about this Nicodemus outside the Gospel of John, the Jewish Encyclopedia and many Biblical historians have theorized that he is identical to Nicodemus ben Gurion, mentioned in the Talmud as a wealthy and popular holy man reputed to have had miraculous powers. Christian tradition asserts that Nicodemus was martyred sometime in the first century.Nicodemus is venerated as a Saint by the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. Roman Catholics celebrate his memorial on August 3. The Franciscan Order erected a Church carrying his name and the name of St. Joseph of Arimathea in Ramlamarker. The Orthodox Church celebrates him on the Sunday of the Myrrhbearers, a variable date falling always on the third Sunday of Pascha (Easter) and also on August 2, the date when sacred tradition states that his relics were found, along with those of the Apostle and Protomartyr Stephen and Gamaliel (another member of the Sanhedrin who, according to a Christian tradition, converted to Christianity, though many postmodernists now dispute this).

General culture

Nicodemus was portrayed by Laurence Olivier in the Franco Zeffirelli television miniseries Jesus of Nazareth (1977). In the miniseries, Nicodemus tries to warn Jesus that he might be arrested, and is there to watch the Crucifixion. He speaks the famous words "And with His wounds we are healed".

Nicodemus is mentioned often in popular Christian music and literature as a character questioning aspects of faith, such as Nichole Nordeman's song To Know You, which includes the lyrics, "Nicodemus could not understand how You could truly free us. He struggled with the image of a grown man born again. We might have been good friends, 'cause sometimes I still question too how easily we come to You."

References

  • Cornel Heinsdorff: Christus, Nikodemus und die Samaritanerin bei Juvencus. Mit einem Anhang zur lateinischen Evangelienvorlage (= Untersuchungen zur antiken Literatur und Geschichte, Bd.67), Berlin/New York 2003


See also



External links



Jesus meets with Nicodemus
Life of Jesus: Ministry Events
New Testament
Events



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